Thomas Mackay Cooper

(1st Baron Cooper of Culross)

1892 - 1955

Politician and jurist. Born in Edinburgh, the son the city's burgh engineer, Cooper was educated at George Watson's College and the University of Edinburgh, where he studied classics and then law. He qualified as an advocate in 1915 but his career was diverted by government service during the First World War, when he worked in the war trade department in London and was appointed OBE for his services in 1920. Returning to the law after the war, he was created a King's Counsel in 1927. He went on to serve as Conservative Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West (1935-41). In 1935 he was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland and later that year he was appointed as Lord Advocate. In 1941 he succeeded as Lord Justice Clerk and then as Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session in 1947. He was appointed by Secretary of State for Scotland, Tom Johnston (1881 - 1965), to chair the Cooper Committee to investigate hydro-electric development in Scotland (1941–42), which led to the creation of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. He went on to rule on the celebrated case MacCormick vs HM Lord Advocate, which concerned whether Queen Elizabeth II was legitimately the I or II in Scotland. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1936 and served as the Society's Vice-President (1945-48).

Cooper resigned his offices in 1954 due to illness, but was elevated to the peerage as Lord Cooper of Culross and of Dunnet in the County of Caithness. He died unmarried in Edinburgh and lies buried in Grange Cemetery. He is remembered as an energetic and intelligent man with many diverse interests.

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