The Lord Hardie was appointed as a Court of Session Judge in 2000. He retired in 2012. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he qualified as a solicitor in 1971. In 1973 he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates and was subsequently appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1985.
Between 1979 and 1983 he served as an Advocate Depute. He was standing junior counsel to the City of Edinburgh District Council (1983 -1985) and standing senior counsel (1987 -1997). He also acted for other local authorities and developers. In 1989 he was elected Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates and in 1994 Dean of Faculty.
In 1997 he was appointed Lord Advocate, became a member of the Privy Council and created a life peer. As Lord Advocate he helped steer the Scotland Act and the Human Rights Act through the House of Lords.
He conducted the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing on behalf of the Crown and appointed a legal team to prepare for and conduct the prosecution of those suspected of being involved in the Lockerbie bombing.
Since his retirement from the Bench Lord Hardie has attended the House of Lords where he has spoken on disability, employment and electoral issues and chaired a Select Committee on the post legislative scrutiny of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.