Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Muirhead, James (1831-1889)

MUIRHEAD, JAMES (1831–1889), jurist, son of Claud Muirhead of Gogan Park, Midlothian, proprietor of the 'Edinburgh Advertiser,' born in 1831, was admitted on 31 Oct. 1854 a member of the Inner Temple, where he was called to the bar on 6 June 1857, being admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates the same year. In 1862 he was elected to the chair of civil law in the university of Edinburgh, which he held until his death. He held the post of advocate depute during Lord Beaconsfield's administration, and in 1886 was appointed sheriff of Stirling, Dumbarton, and Clackmannanshire.

Muirhead was an accomplished jurist, and besides discharging his professorial duties with eminent ability, made a European reputation by his masterly works on Roman law. In 1885 he succeeded Lord McLaren as sheriff in chancery, and the same year received from the university of Glasgow the honorary degree of LL.D. He died at his house in Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, on 8 Nov. 1889. Muirhead married, on 14 April 1857, Jemima Lock, youngest daughter of George Eastlake of Plymouth.

Muirhead edited in 1880 'The Institutes of Gaius and Rules of Ulpian. The former from Studemund's Apograph of the Verona Codex. With translation and notes critical and explanatory, and copious alphabetical digest,' Edinburgh, 8vo. His 'Historical Introduction to the Private Law of Rome,' Edinburgh, 1886, 8vo, of which an abridgment had appeared, under the title 'Roman Law,' in the ninth edition of the 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' is a work of authority, and has been translated into French and Italian. Muirhead's interesting and valuable library of law books was, after his death, purchased by subscription and presented to the Owens College, Manchester. A catalogue of it has been published by the college.

[Scotsman, 9 and 13 Nov. 1889; Times, 9 Nov. 1889; Journal of Jurisprudence, 1889, p. 639; The Student, 17 May 1889; Foster's Men at the Bar; Edinburgh Univ. Cal.]

J. M. R.