Arnot Manderson Advocates are sorry to announce the retirement from practice of leading silk Jonathan Mitchell KC after a long and distinguished career at the Bar.
Jonathan retires at the end of this year, and his departure follows closely on from another notable success in the case of For Women Scotland for Judicial Review of the revised statutory guidance produced by the Scottish Ministers under section 7 of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018,  CSOH 90. Jonathan acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the full judgement of 13 December can be found here.
Jonathan called to the Bar on 13th July 1979 following spells with prominent firms Simpson & Marwick and Allan McDougall. He also worked for the Citizens Rights Office doing campaigning work on housing law, social security, and employment law. Earlier he had gained degrees in Politics and Philosophy at Oxford and Law at Edinburgh. In between those degrees he spent some time in the Middle East, and his experiences there now form the basis of a film “Prison with Songbirds”, a project of his son Ewan, who recorded his father talking about his time in Damascus and Beirut and turned it into a short film which is now nominated for award in the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Jonathan is credited with providing the voice and stories in the film and he reveals “21st October is the anniversary of my being tossed out of Death Row when I was 23: I suspect I’ve spent longer in prison than any other living member of the Faculty of Advocates. But the next day, 22nd October, is the day I commemorate- a memorable celebratory meal on the Beirut Corniche with wonderful hosts, criminals by trade and gentlemen by nature.” There are no spoilers here but if you’d like to get the full story Ewan’s film can be found here.
It’s a remarkable chapter in a remarkable life and Arnot Manderson’s Practice Manager Andrew Sutherland said “Jonathan’s retirement feels like the end of an era and whilst we are all pleased for him he will certainly be missed by the many solicitors and clients he has represented with such passion during his 43 years at the Bar. I was only five years old when Jonathan called but it has been a pleasure to have witnessed the later part of his career. I have always enjoyed his visits to the stable, particularly when the conversation turns to his adventures outside the law! We wish him well in his retirement and hope he will stay in touch when his film career takes off!”
Jonathan commented “I have been lucky to have found so many friends in the law over the years, and I’m particularly pleased for this case to be my last to produce a court opinion. I’ve never regretted coming to the Bar. It’s very satisfying that I have ended with an important success in an important Judicial Review case which touches on issues of Human Rights and discrimination which I have enjoyed covering throughout my career.”