Angus sheriff Gregor Murray has received the thanks and praise of staff and solicitors at the end of a seven-year tenure in the county.
At a Forfar Sheriff Court presentation, he was presented with two framed portraits, one of which will join those of his illustrious predecessors in the faculty library at the Market Street courthouse.
Sheriff Murray is to take up a new position at Dundee Sheriff Court.
New incumbent, Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown, sheriff clerk Kay Hendry and solicitors Billy Rennie and Mike Ferrie, representing the Angus Society of Procurators and Solicitors made the presentation.
Sheriff Murray took up the Angus role following the merger of Arbroath and Forfar under a Scottish Courts Service shake-up in May 2014.
A one-time Tannadice Park ballboy, educated at Clepington Primary School and Morgan Academy, Mr Murray studied law at Dundee University and began his traineeship in the city at Carlton Gilruth in the late eighties, who merged with Blackadders where he became a partner.
He was a partner at RSB McDonald, now Lindsays, in Dundee prior to his appointment as a sheriff in Peterhead in 2011.
Prior to the Angus merger, Sheriff Murray was at Arbroath.
Tributes from Dean
Mr Ferrie said: “It was no easy task for Sheriff Murray to follow in the footsteps of two of Angus’ longest-serving sheriffs, the highly esteemed Sheriffs Stein and Veal, both of whom had their own inimitable but very contrasting styles – they were ‘in with the bricks’ at their respective courts so to speak.
“Sheriff Murray also had the unenviable task to oversee the difficult birth of a new court, breaking free from old traditions, applying new rules, instituting a new modern ethos, and confronting and overcoming many logistical and operational difficulties consequent to the merger.
“He has done so admirably, successfully and modestly.
“As Sheriff in Forfar he has also seen the legal profession undergo unprecedented challenges bringing change and transformation which has been further accelerated by the Covid-19 virus with the introduction of virtual hearings, hybrid hearings and the use of electronically-transmitted written submissions.
“Sheriff Murray had the wisdom to know that times change and that everyone needs to change with the times or become obsolete – never has that been truer than today.
“He has left Forfar Sheriff Court in a good place, a court fit for purpose in the modern world.”
“He has developed a collegiate approach to work where our local practitioners have been actively encouraged to take greater responsibility for their court input and the various organs of the body politic have had to work with and for each other,” said Mr Ferrie.
“Communication is good and it is already evident that Sheriffs Reekie and our new incumbent Sheriff Martin Brown, who are now both very well known to us at Forfar, have already demonstrated to the users of this court that they are happy to continue in the same co-operative vein as Sheriff Murray.
“I am glad to say that the future of our court in Forfar looks secure for many years to come – much of the credit for laying those foundations can be attributed to Sheriff Murray for his diligence and conscientiousness over the past few years.
“Sheriff Murray is well-respected within our profession and is regarded as being a firm but scrupulously fair man, of good conscience, good humour and humanity. He has contributed greatly to the life of the faculty,” said Mr Ferrie.
“He has helped ensure that Forfar Sheriff Court has developed into a healthy, well-functioning court which has served the people of Angus well.
“Despite the challenges of the last year we are now well placed for this court to flourish and continue long into the future.”