LORD Morton of Shuna, the High Court and Court of Session judge, died

yesterday at the age of 65 after a lengthy battle against cancer.

Typically, Lord Morton refused to give in to his illness and was working

until a few days before his death.

Last night, two of his colleagues on the Scottish bench paid tribute

to the man and his career. Lord Johnston said: ''Hugh's death will leave

a great hole in my life. Over most of my career at the bar, he was the

most respected and honest opponent I ever had.

''We were able to settle or fight cases with the complete honesty

which I think the bar must have. We disagreed politically on practical

everything but that wasn't the point. He was straight, honest, and in

many ways a great man.''

Lord McCluskey said: ''What you saw was what you got. Hugh Morton was

a remarkably frank, honest, and straightforward man. He performed all

his public life very quietly and effectively and people grew to

appreciate the quiet wisdom of the man. Essentially, he was a private

person who loved his family, his music, and his walking holidays.''

Hugh Drennan Baird Morton was the son of a minister and was educated

at Glasgow Academy and Glasgow University. He was called to the Scottish

Bar in 1965 and became a QC nine years later. He served as a Crown

Prosecutor for nearly 10 years in two different spells between 1967 and

1971 and from 1974 to 1979.

Before his elevation to the bench in October, 1988, he had succeeded

Lord McCluskey as the Labour Party's legal affairs spokesman in the

House of Lords.

Hugh Morton remained a fearless and outspoken critic of what he saw as

the law's shortcomings.Twice in high-profile murder trials, he took the

brave decision to acquit the accused on the view that there was not

enough evidence to send the case to the jury.

Speaking in the House of Lords last November, in what some felt was

his valedictory address, he lambasted procedures in the Court of Session

as out of date, too slow, and far too expensive.

He always showed sympathy for the underdog and was concerned that

judges really didn't understand the problems of offenders from deprived


Lord Morton is survived by his wife, three sons, and four