Ian Hamilton (lawyer)

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Ian Robertson Hamilton QC
Born (1925-09-13) 13 September 1925 (age 88)
Paisley, United Kingdom
Education University of Glasgow
Occupation Advocate
Website
www.IanHamiltonQC.com

Ian Robertson Hamilton, QC (born 13 September 1925) is a lawyer and Scottish Nationalist. He is best known for his part in the removal of the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey in 1950.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ian was born in Paisley, Scotland on 13 September 1925, the son of a tailor.[2] He attended the John Neilson Institution in Paisley before going on to the University of Glasgow to study Law, after having served in the British army.[1]

National activism[edit]

It was at University where Hamilton became politically active. A participant in debates at the Glasgow University Union, he was a member of the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association and the Scottish Covenant Association. He was also the campaign manager for the successful bid to have John MacCormick elected Rector of the University.

Stone of Scone[edit]

On Christmas Eve 1950, Hamilton, along with three other student Scottish nationalists, removed the Stone of Scone from its place under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, London. The Stone, originally used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs, had been removed to England by Edward I in 1296 to bolster his claim to the throne of Scotland. After the Acts of Union 1707 between Scotland and England, it was used for the coronation of British monarchs. As such, Hamilton's action in returning the Stone to Scotland was applauded as a symbolic triumph for Scottish nationalism. The Stone was turned over to the Church of Scotland, which surrendered it to English authorities in April 1951. Hamilton and his accomplices were charged, but never prosecuted. The Stone was eventually returned to Scotland in 1996, with provision for subsequent use in the coronation of British monarchs.

In 2008, Charles Martin Smith wrote and directed a feature film entitled Stone Of Destiny, based on these events, in which Hamilton was portrayed by Charlie Cox. Hamilton himself had a small part as an English businessman.

MacCormick v. Lord Advocate[edit]

When first admitted to the bar as a young advocate in 1953, Hamilton refused to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II arguing that she could only be referred to as "Queen Elizabeth" (sans regnal number) in Scotland as the regnal numbers counted Queen Elizabeth I, who had not ruled over Scotland or any of the subsequent united kingdoms which it has entered into. MacCormick v. Lord Advocate, which Hamilton brought with rector John MacCormick against the Crown, failed. The Inner House of the Scottish Court of Session held that the monarch's title is the sole prerogative of the sovereign, and the Crown had accepted a system whereby regnal numbers were taken from the larger of both former kingdoms in the United Kingdom, that is England and not Scotland. (It was later suggested by Winston Churchill after the accession of Elizabeth II that, in the future, the higher of the two numerals from the English and Scottish sequences would be used. This system has yet to be put to the test).

Career[edit]

After graduating from university, Hamilton was admitted to the bar and became a practising lawyer.

He joined the Labour Party for a short while, but has spent most of his life in active politics as a member of the Scottish National Party (SNP). He was SNP candidate for the Strathclyde East seat at the 1994 election to the European Parliament, as well as a candidate for the SNP in the Greenock and Inverclyde seat at the 1999 election to the Scottish Parliament.

He was Rector of the University of Aberdeen from 1994–1996 and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) in his final year. He was also chosen by the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association as their candidate for the Glasgow University Rectorial election in 1999 in which he came second to the actor, Ross Kemp.

Hamilton has written two autobiographical works, that are also in part polemical, A Touch of Treason (1990) and A Touch More Treason (1994). He has launched a blog, where he posts commentary on Scottish social and political life.

Royal Bank of Scotland lawsuit[edit]

In February 2009, BBC News and The Daily Telegraph reported that Hamilton was suing the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) over claims they had mis-sold shares to him in April 2008.[3] Hamilton purchased 640 shares at £2 per share as part of a £12 billion rights issue. The writ he lodged in court claimed that the bank invited shareholders, including him and his wife, to invest in a rights issue, an offer that he took up on her behalf. The writ further alleged that RBS induced him to invest his money by "concealing the true state of their finances".[4] He further alleged that the bank was "negligent in representing themselves as solvent at all material times when in fact they were insolvent".[3]

RBS stated they would defend themselves vigorously against the claims made by Hamilton,[3] but he dropped the case on 26 February 2009 after the small claims court refused to deal with it, citing the legal and factual complexity of the case, which would require trial in a higher court.[5]

Portrayals in popular culture[edit]

In 2008, Hamilton's book, The Taking of the Stone of Destiny, was made into a movie entitled Stone of Destiny. The film depicted Hamilton as the protagonist leading a team of students to reclaim the Stone of Scone. Additionally, Hamilton had a small, cameo role.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ian R. Hamilton,” Publisher’s author biography. Birlinn Limited. 2009. (Retrieved 2010-01-09.)
  2. ^ Ian Hamilton: Patriot and Nationalist,” Siol nan Gaidheal. (Retrieved 2010-01-09.)
  3. ^ a b c Cramb, Auslan. “Former QC takes Royal Bank of Scotland to court in shares row,” The Daily Telegraph. 19 February 2009. (Retrieved 2010-01-10.)
  4. ^ Pensioner takes on Royal Bank of Scotland in court battle,” The Daily Record. 18 February 2009. (Retrieved 2010-01-10.)
  5. ^ QC abandons RBS 'negligence' case "QC abandons RBS 'negligence' case". BBC News. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  6. ^ Stone of Destiny,” The Internet Movie Database. (Retrieved 2010-01-09.)

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Colin Bell
Rector of the University of Aberdeen
1993–1996
Succeeded by
Allan Macartney