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Professor David Johnston KC

Honorary Professor

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2008


David Johnston is a QC who practises at the Scottish Bar mainly in public law, including human rights, and commercial law. He was Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge University from 1993 to 1999, where he taught Roman law and various topics within legal history and comparative law. Shortly after returning to full-time practice in Edinburgh, he was appointed an honorary professor at Edinburgh University. 

In addition to articles mainly on Roman law, legal history and Scots law, he has written four books: On a Singular Book of Cervidius Scaevola (Berlin, 1987); The Roman Law of Trusts (Oxford, 1988); Roman Law in Context  (Cambridge, 1999); and Prescription and Limitation (Edinburgh, 1999). A second edition of Prescription and Limitation should be ready within a couple of years.

At the Bar, leading cases in which he has been involved have concerned judicial review of various Acts of the Scottish Parliament; the state’s obligation under article 2 of the European Convention to hold an inquiry into a suspicious death; the claim by Pan Am Airways for damages arising from the Lockerbie bombing; cases on taxing insurance companies and taxing employment-related benefits; and a number of cases dealing with prescription and limitation.