James Robertson, Baron Robertson

James Patrick Bannerman Robertson, Baron Robertson, PC FRSE LLD (19 August 1845 – 1 February 1909), was a Scottish judge and Conservative politician.


Robertson was born in the manse at Forteviot, the son of Helen Bannerman, daughter of Rev. J. Bannerman of Cargill, Perthshire and Rev. Robert John Robertson, minister of Forteviot, Perthshire.

He was educated at the High School in Edinburgh then studied law at the University of Edinburgh graduating with an MA in 1864. He passed to the Scottish bar in 1867. He was President of the Juridical Society 1869/70. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1885. [1]

Robertson stood unsuccessfully for parliament at Linlithgowshire in 1880. At the 1885 general election he was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Buteshire and held the seat until 1891. He was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland in 1885 and again in 1886 and was appointed Lord Advocate in 1888 and was made a Privy Counsellor in the same year. He carried the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889.[1]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1886. His proposers were John McLaren, Lord McLaren, Alexander Forbes Irvine, Peter Guthrie Tait and Sir William Turner. In 1890 the University of Edinburgh awarded him an honorary doctorate (LLD).[2]

Robertson gave up his seat when he was appointed Lord President of the Court of Session in 1891, and was appointed a Law lord and Life peer as Baron Robertson, of Forteviot in the County of Perthshire. He was Rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1893 and was also Chairman of the Irish University Commission. At this time he lived at 19 Drumsheugh Gardens in Edinburgh's West End.[3]

In 1899, he was a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.[1] He was a Trustee of the Board of Manufactures in Scotland, from which he resigned in 1899.[4]

In later life he retired to live in Muchalls Castle in Aberdeenshire.[1]

He died on 1 February 1909 at Cap Martin on the south coast of France near Monaco, aged 74. He is buried in Elmstead in Kent.[2]


Robertson married Philadelphia Mary Lucy Fraser, daughter of W. N. Fraser of Tornaveen, Aberdeenshire in 1872. They had one daughter and two sons.[1]


  1. Ormond 1912.
  2. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  3. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1897
  4. "No. 27165". The London Gazette. 16 February 1900. p. 1076.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Dalrymple
Member of Parliament for Buteshire
Succeeded by
Andrew Murray
Legal offices
Preceded by
Alexander Asher
Solicitor General for Scotland
Succeeded by
Alexander Asher
Preceded by
Alexander Asher
Solicitor General for Scotland
Succeeded by
Moir Tod Stormonth Darling
Preceded by
John Macdonald
Lord Advocate
Succeeded by
Charles Pearson
Preceded by
Lord Glencorse
Lord Justice General
Succeeded by
Lord Balfour
Academic offices
Preceded by
George Goschen
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Lord Balfour of Burleigh

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