HAVING a membership ranging in age from people in their twenties to their nineties, the Faculty of Advocates is inevitably no stranger to death, but that does nothing to soften the blow when a member is taken in his professional prime. The tragic, sudden, but peaceful death of Richard Miller at the age of 42 leaves a gap in the bottom half of the senior Bar which will be very difficult to fill.
The younger son of the late Cyril Miller, a distinguished Writer to the Signet and a member of a group of highly respected litigation solicitors practising in the post-war Court of Session who have left their indelible mark on the system, Miller was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and Magdalene College, Cambridge. I had the privilege of having him as one of my 'devils' and he proved to be one of the best; he was called to the Bar in 1975.
Miller quickly established a busy junior practice, leading to his being awarded silk in 1988 - a term of 13 years, being the natural progression at the Scottish Bar indicative of talent and promise, together with a hard-won junior practice. Having endured the difficult time that any person at the bottom of the senior Bar inevitably suffers in embarking in effect on a second career, he was beginning to build a substantial and good senior practice. The potential had not yet been achieved, although every indication was showing.
Not a naturally gregarious person, he was a devoted family man to his wife Lesley, his children, his mother, brother and sister who survive him. He never lost his love of the hill and loch, particularly in the Acharacle area in the West Highlands, which through family and friends he had known for most of his life. It is therefore fitting that if death had to intervene it should do so while he was on holiday in that wild and beautiful part of eastern Argyll, pursuing his favourite pastime of fishing.