- Year of Call
- Devil Masters
- Sheriff Neil J Mackinnon
- Robert A Anthony QC
Contactdavidcobb@amadvocates.co.uk 07867 916182 Check Faculty diary
David is an experienced and enthusiastic practitioner in the fields of Statute, Public and Criminal law. He has made several key contributions to Scottish Legal Literature –increasingly used as a Speaker to a wide range of Groups, including the AM Public Law Conference and the NHS Central Legal Office.
David’s career began in Local government, and he was the head of legal Services at a Regional Council by the time he decided to pursue a career at the Bar. He has maintained his interest in this area, not least by appearing at a number of lengthy Planning Inquiries, in relation to matters such as Judicial Review, Child Care, Statutory Nuisance and ASBOs. He is a member of the AM Family Law Group.
In parallel, David has developed new areas of expertise in relation to Mental Health, Adults with Incapacity and Human Rights Law. He has written three published textbooks on the evolving area of Mental Health Law in Scotland, and is a regular contributor to the “Scots Law Times” on significant new cases. David’s other current writing projects include a new Chapter for the SULI Environmental Law Textbook and updating the Planning section of the “Scottish Human Rights Service”
David has also gained substantial experience as a Procurator Fiscal Depute and Crown Junior, and successfully prosecuted in a number of cases at Sheriff and Jury level. He intends to develop this background, particularly in relation to Criminal Appeal work.
David has a deep and genuine commitment to making his skills available to the Third Sector, and particularly to clients who require assistance on a pro bono basis. He has been a Director of Reeltime Music – an award – winning Community Youth Music Project in a deprived area – for over 14 years and is also a supporter of the Faculty’s Free Legal Services Unit, which he has assisted in Employment cases. David is also a supporter of Planning Democracy, Validity (formerly the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre) as well as a member of the Pro Bono Panel of Inspiring Scotland.
David provides a high quality and responsive service underpinned by integrity, which focuses on the expectation of Clients and their Agents in a rapidly – evolving Legal Services market. A constructive, inquiring and emphatic approach characterises David’s professional ethos. He communicates in a manner and at a level appropriate to his audience, and as demonstrated by the forthcoming publication of a Plain English Guide to Mental Health Law, seeks to demystify complex legal issues.
Education & Professional Career to Date
Local government experience spanning 16 years at all levels – latterly as Head of Legal Services of Central Regional Council
LLB (Hons), 2:1 (Edinburgh, 1980); Diploma in Public Administration, with Distinction (Glasgow Caledonian, 1986)
- Member of the Equality & Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel (2019–present)
- Junior Counsel, First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum), Office of the Advocate General (2018–present)
- Case Presenter for the Nursery and Midwifery Council (2017–present)
- Part-Time Case Investigator for thr Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (2017–present)
Challenge to legality of planning consent granted for Hotel Development adjacent to Edinburgh Central Library. First Crowdfunded litigation.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Robertson 2016 SLT 52
Consideration of decision by Upper Tier Judge that Regulations had been made ultra vires of the Secretary of State, and also the extent to which such a decision is appealable.
K v Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland 2015 SLT (Sh.Ct.) 197
The first reported decision upon the operation of a Cross- border Transfer of a patient subject to a Compulsory Treatment Order under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003
D v Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland 2014 SLT (Sh.Ct.) 39
Successful Appeal to the Sheriff Principal against a decision of a Mental Health Tribunal that a failure of procedure invalidated a Compulsory Treatment Order
DC v W Nursing Home and Ors 2014
A case often referred to as the Scottish Bournewood, which explored the extent to which the accommodation of an incapable individual in a Nursing Home engaged Convention Rights
G v NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde 2014
A case which examined the operation of a Mandatory Drugs Testing regime applicable to a Detained Patient
St James Retail Park Extension, Dumbarton, 2009
The refusal of a major retail proposal made against planning advice was successfully upheld on Appeal
North Ayrshire & Isle of Arran Local Plan Inquiries 2005 - 6
Presentation of the case for the planning authority
Prestige Holdings Ltd v Renfrewshire Council  SC 88
Consideration of the making of a listed building compulsory purchase order
Devine & Ors v Moray Council  SLT 213
Successful judicial review of a planning decision
Areas of Practice
Publications & Seminars
Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, Ronald A Franks and David W Cobb 2005 (Second Edition published December 2017)
Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia Second Reissue, Mental Health, published May 2018
Environmental Law in Scotland, Chapter on Planning and Pollution Control 2014
Author and Updater of the Scottish Human Rights Service Chapters on Mental Health and Planning and the Environment
'The Supreme Court and the State’s duty to protect vulnerable groups; the effect of Rabone', Scots Law Times (News), 75, 2012
'Human rights and protection of vulnerable persons – the Scottish Law Commission considers Bournewood', Scots Law Times (News), 201, 2012
'G v Scottish Ministers', Scots Law Times (News) 40, 2014
'Closing the Bournewood Gap - the Scottish Law Commissioner's Report on Adults with Incapacity', Scots Law Times (News) 13. 2015
'A subdued Light of Experience? - the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015' Scots Law Times (News) 13, 2016-06-28
Speaker at Seminars organised by CPP Seminars in May and December 2014 and March 2016-06-28
Presenter of course on the Law of Incapable Adults for MBL Seminars Dec 2016-present
Regular supporter of the Faculty’s Free Legal Support Unit , in areas including Planning, Housing and Employment. Most recently involved in supporting the occupiers of Lorne Street, Leith against the sale of their properties by a Charitable Trust.
Substantial interest in the working of the voluntary and third sectors -
Management Committee Member of award-winning and nationally - recognised youth music project Reeltime Music
Board member of Partners in Advocacy, a Mental Health Advocacy Charity
Member of Scottish Legal Action Group
Member, Planning Democracy
Former Committee Member of the Scottish Human Rights Centre
Facebook and LinkedIn profiles in his own name
Twitter and WordPress accounts under the pseudonym 'Voidgrab'