Macfarlane, Robert (1802-1880) (DNB00)

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MACFARLANE, ROBERT, Lord Ormidale (1802–1880), senator of the College of Justice, born in 1802, was son of Parlane Macfarlane of Lugs, Dumbartonshire. He was educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh, and admitted a writer to the signet in 1827. He afterwards passed some time in Jamaica, but, determining to proceed to the bar, became advocate at Edinburgh in 1838. He was very successful with juries in civil cases, though not an orator, and in 1853 was made sheriff of Renfrewshire. He was made an ordinary lord of session, with the title of Lord Ormidale, on 13 Jan. 1862, and transferred to the second division in 1874. As a judge he was kind to young barristers, and very painstaking. He had a dislike for showy pleading, and did a great deal after Lord Colonsay's death to reform the procedure of the court of session. His speech upon the condition of the court before the Juridical Society in 1867 caused some controversy, but the act of 1868 abolishing many of the technicalities of pleading was largely due to his advocacy. Ormidale died at Hartrigge, Jedburgh, on 3 Nov. 1880. His wife, a Miss Greigh of Eccles, Berwickshire, whom he married in 1845, predeceased him. Ormidale published : 1. 'The Practice of the Court of Session in Jury Causes,' Edinburgh, 1837, 8vo. 2. 'Reports of Jury Trials in the Courts of Session from 12 March 1838 to 27 Dec. 1839,' Edinburgh, 1841, 8vo. 3. Parts i. to viii. of 'Practical Notes on the Structure of Issues in Jury Cases in the Court of Session,' Edinburgh, 1844-5, 8vo.

[Scotsman, 6 Nov. 1880; Irving's Dict. of Eminent Scotsmen, p. 572; Ann. Reg. 1880, p. 219; Book of Dignities.]

W. A. J. A.