Obituary: Harvey McGregor CBE QC, 89

Harvey McGregor was an accomplished lawyer and pianist. Picture: TSPL
Harvey McGregor was an accomplished lawyer and pianist. Picture: TSPL
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Tributes have been paid to Harvey McGregor CBE QC who died in Edinburgh on June 27 aged 89. Retiring to the Capital after a distinguised legal career which saw him write the definitive book on damage, he played a key role in nurturing young musicians, often inviting guests to hear them play in the drawing room of his New Town flat.

Harvey McGregor CBE QC, who died in Edinburgh on June 27, was born in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire on 23 February, 1926, and educated there.

Before going up to Oxford he served as a Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force from 1946 to 1948.

He held the Hasling scholarship at Queen’s College, Oxford, graduating BA in 1951, BLL in 1952, MA in 1956 and DCL in 1983.

He was called to the Bar from Inner Temple in 1955 and became a Bencher in 1985. In 1950-51 he was Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago and had been a visiting professor at New York University and Rutger University. Between 1966 and 1973 he was a consultant to the Law Commission in England.

From 1985 to 1986 he was Warden of New College, Oxford.

Harvey McGregor was the author of the magisterial McGregor on Damages, which is now in its 19th edition.

All this describes a highly successful career in the law in London but, unlike many who are successful south of the Border, he chose to retire to Scotland and here he will be remembered not for his distinguished legal career but for the generous assistance he gave to young musicians in Scotland.

In the drawing room of his New Town flat were two grand pianos and here he regularly invited young trainee musicians from the Scottish musical colleges to perform in front of an invited audience of about 40.

These were memorable evenings with extraordinarily talented performances from the young musicians.

Wine and cake and conversation followed, but not before Harvey and a professional pianist performed some very sophisticated duets on the two grand pianos. The most recent of these concerts was a few weeks ago.

Hugely successful, as was Harvey McGregor’s legal career south of the Border – and his seminal book on damages will be long remembered, constantly used and no doubt re-edited for future generations – he will be remembered in Scotland by countless young musicians who were first exposed to an audience in Harvey McGregor’s fine drawing room. Those who were privileged to be invited to such very special evenings will not forget the kindness of their talented host.