Andrew Dewar Gibb

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Andrew Dewar Gibb

Leader of the Scottish National Party
In office
Preceded byAlexander MacEwen
Succeeded byWilliam Power
Personal details
Born(1888-02-13)13 February 1888
Paisley, Scotland
Died24 January 1974(1974-01-24) (aged 85)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Other political
Unionist Party
Scottish Party
Spouse(s)Margaret Downie (m. 1923–1974)
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
University of Cambridge
ProfessionAdvocate, Barrister, Professor (Law)
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Years of service1914–1917

Andrew Dewar Gibb MBE QC (13 February 1888 – 24 January 1974) was a Scottish advocate, barrister, professor and politician. He taught law at Edinburgh and Cambridge, and was Regius Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow 1934–1958.[1] Gibb was the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) from 1936 to 1940.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Paisley, the son of William Fletcher Gibb, a doctor, Gibb was educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, and the University of Glasgow, where he graduated with an MA in 1910 and an LLB in 1913.[1]

Following graduation, Gibb was called to the Scottish bar in 1914.[2] During World War I he served in France with the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, achieving the rank of major. He also served as an adjutant to Winston Churchill during the short period in 1916 when Churchill was the battalion's commanding officer.[3] Gibb became a member of the English bar in 1917 and practised as a barrister in England.[4] In 1929 he was appointed as lecturer in English law at the University of Edinburgh, and from 1931 to 1934 he was lecturer in Scots law at the University of Cambridge.[1]

In 1934, Gibb was appointed Regius Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow, and from 1937 to 1939 and 1945 to 1947 was Dean of the University's Law Faculty.[5] As a legal scholar he edited a range of works, including successive editions of a text on the law of maritime collisions, and on the position of Scots law in the United Kingdom. His Students' Glossary of Legal Terms was published in 1946, and four editions of his Preface to Scots Law were published between 1944 and 1964.[1] In 1947, he became a King's Counsel,[6] and from 1955 to 1957 he was the Chairman of the Saltire Society. Gibb retired from his professorship in 1958, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of laws degree by the university the following year.

Political career[edit]

Andrew Dewar Gibb was politically active throughout his adult life. He began his political career in the 1920s as a supporter of the Unionist Party, and stood unsuccessfully as a Unionist parliamentary candidate for Hamilton in 1924, and for Greenock in 1929.[1][5]

During the 1920s, Gibb came to the view that Scotland had been ill-served by the union of 1707. His book Scotland in Eclipse (1930) linked the economic depression with a wider cultural malaise in Scotland. In particular, he believed that Scotland's status as a partner in the imperial mission had been compromised by her lowly status in the United Kingdom. While he moved towards a Scottish nationalist position, he also retained a right-wing world view, and imperial questions remained prominent in his writings.[1]

Gibb's involvement in Scottish nationalism came initially as a member of the Scottish Party, which had been founded as a counterbalance to the left-wing National Party of Scotland.[1] In 1934, he became a founder member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), and was the second leader of the SNP, serving from 1936 until 1940.[5] Gibb stood as an independent for the Combined Scottish Universities constituency in the 1935 general election, and as an SNP parliamentary candidate in the 1936 Combined Scottish Universities by-election, taking 31.1% of the vote and second place in the poll.[7] However, he was less successful at the 1938 by-election, his share falling to 18.2%.[5] Gibb resigned as leader of the SNP in 1940, due to what he regarded as its rapid lurch to the left.[1] By 1947 he was considering returning to the Unionist Party, and possibly running for Parliament once more under their banner.[8]

Gibb died at his home in Glasgow in 1974, aged 85. Married to Margaret Isabel Downie in 1923, the couple had a son and two daughters.[1]


  • With Winston Churchill at the Front, 1924
  • Sale of Goods on CIF and FOB Terms: A Guide to the Decisions, 1924
  • The International Law of Jurisdiction in Scotland and England, 1926
  • International Private Law of Scotland in the 16th and 17th Centuries, 1928
  • Scotland in Eclipse, 1930[9]
  • The Trial of Motor Car Accident Cases, 1930
  • Select Cases in the Law of Scotland, 1933
  • Scottish Empire, 1937
  • A Preface to Scots Law, 1944
  • Student's Glossary of Legal Terms, 1946
  • Law from over the Border: A Short Account of a Strange Jurisdiction, 1950
  • Scotland Resurgent, 1950
  • Perjury Unlimited: A Monograph on Nuremberg, 1954
  • Fragmenta Legis, 1955
  • Judicial Corruption in the United Kingdom, 1957


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i [1] Ewen A. Cameron, 'Gibb, Andrew Dewar (1888–1974)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oct 2009; online edn, Sept 2010
  2. ^ "Professor Dewar Gibb". The Glasgow Herald. 25 January 1974. p. 3. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  3. ^ Jenkins, Churchill, MacMillan, 2001, p.301
  4. ^ Farmer, Lindsay (2001). "Under the Shadow over Parliament House: The Strange Case of Legal Nationalism". In Farmer, Lindsay; Veitch, Scott (eds.). The State of Scots Law. Butterworths. pp. 151–164 [155].
  5. ^ a b c d The University of Glasgow Story: Andrew Dewar Gibb, University of Glasgow
  6. ^ "New Scottish K.C. Professor A. Dewar Gibb". The Glasgow Herald. 22 September 1947. p. 2. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Ex-Premier returned to Parliament. 7359 Majority in Universities By-election". The Glasgow Herald. 4 February 1936. p. 9. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  8. ^ National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. Acc. 10090, Papers of Dr Robert Douglas McIntyre, MB ChB, DPH, Duniv, JP. File 15: Correspondence and papers of or concerning Douglas Young. 11 December 1947 letter from Young to McIntyre. Accessed 16 July 2015.
  9. ^ A controversial quote from the book which has received a wide audience expresses animosity to Irish immigrants in Scotland. "Wheresoever knives and razors are used, wheresoever sneak thefts and petty pilfering are easy and safe, wheresoever dirty acts of sexual baseness are committed, there you will find the Irishman in Scotland with all but a monopoly." See Alex Massie (2009) Spectator "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link); David Moody (1988, p. 75) Scottish Family History.[2] Margery Palmer McCulloch (2009, p. 99) Scottish Modernism and Its Contexts 1918–1959: Literature, National Identity and Cultural Exchange.[3] Massie describes Dewar Gibb's expressed view as bigoted and racist. Richard J Finlay indicates Dewar was anti-Roman Catholic and thought the Irish Diaspora were racially inferior.[4]
Academic offices
Preceded by
William Gloag
Regius Professor of Law
Succeeded by
David Maxwell Walker
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alexander MacEwen
Chairman (Leader) of the Scottish National Party
Succeeded by
William Power