John Sturrock QC

Year of Call: Scottish Bar: 1986 Silk: Scotland: 1999

Clerk: Kate Trott

John Sturrock QC

Year of Call: Scottish Bar: 1986 Silk: Scotland: 1999

Clerk: Kate Trott


“internationally recognised as a major player in this area”
- Who's Who of Commercial Mediation 2014


“John Sturrock QC is considered a “thought leader” in the area. Sources cite his keen intellect”, “preparation to get at core issues” and “massive wealth of experience in difficult negotiation situations”. Another respondent maintains, “John is the best mediator I have met and has brought about a settlement in two cases in which I thought resolution was impossible.” (Who’s Who Legal 2017, which lists John as top of the list of mediator silks.)

John has been involved in hundreds of mediations, frequently high value, multi-party, covering a broad range of issues in the commercial and public sectors, finance and banking, corporate management, government and sport. These have included a multiplicity of interests, including commercial contracts, financial instruments, shareholder and boardroom, insurance, construction and engineering, infrastructure, intellectual property, real estate, high performance sport, senior level employment, investor matters, taxation, IT, professional indemnity, agriculture, landlord and tenant, oil and gas, procurement and transport.

John Sturrock has for many years been the leading commercial mediator in Scotland with a practice that extends to the rest of the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Known for his innovative and creative approach, since leaving active practice at the Scottish Bar in 2002, he has pioneered mediation and high quality training in business, the professions and commerce in Scotland and beyond.

He has also facilitated many high-level dialogues in sensitive and complex policy matters (including intra-governmental) and is a member of the Singapore International Mediation Centre and other panels.

Read a fuller description of John’s recent mediation work here

Who’s Who Legal UK Bar Mediation 2016 listed John as one of the four “Most Highly Regarded Individuals” in the Leading Silks category, describing him as, “highly competent” and “innovative” and with a “truly global” practice that spans UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Listed in Band 1 of Chambers Guide, he is described "as a leading figure in the UK mediation market, praised for being "flexible in his approach and for always remaining sensitive to the differing interests of the parties involved", and a "fantastic listener".

Legal 500 writes: “The ‘highly impressive’ John Sturrock QC ‘has the gravitas to win the confidence of both sides from the outset’. Clients note his ability to employ ‘insight, judgement, and emotional intelligence’ and ‘to know instinctively both when to push the parties hard, and when to back off and let discussions between the parties bridge gaps’.”

practice areas


John Sturrock QC is an internationally recognised Mediator and has mediated hundreds of disputes in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East and Africa in a wide range of commercial, professional and other settings. Many of these matters have raised complex issues, some have involved multiple parties, most have resolved in a day. The value of claims has ranged from tens of thousands of pounds to hundreds of millions. He is recognised for his innovative approach to helping parties to resolve difficult matters.

John’s style is engaging, business-like and innovative with an emphasis on being rigorous on the issues when necessary, while recognising the need for respect and dignity amongst all concerned. His approach is to value parties’ autonomy in making choices and to ensure that these choices are fully-informed and fully tested. He is facilitative and thorough, working energetically alongside parties with a lightness of touch and focussed perseverance. Adept at working with people at every level, he is respected for his ability to get to the heart of matters and overcoming deadlock, while using the process creatively. With a legal background he is able to help parties assess commercial, legal and factual risks in a direct, robust and realistic way.

His many years in business, including engagement with major plcs, SMEs and other corporate and public sector interests in strategy work, enable him to encourage a commercial approach to problem-solving, ensuring that decision-makers can take responsibility for making realistic choices about the outcome.

John's successful practice at the Bar from 1986 included commercial contracts, intellectual property, construction, property, valuation for rating, personal injury, professional negligence and general civil work. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1999. He left practice at the Bar to take up full time practice as a mediator, facilitator and conflict specialist in 2002.

John trained in negotiation at Harvard University and as a mediator with CEDR, both in 1996. He was named Mediator of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland in 2009.  He was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Edinburgh Napier University in 2010 and is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh.  He has been responsible for bringing to Scotland world leaders in the field of conflict resolution, such as William Ury, the co-author of the seminal work, Getting to Yes, Kenneth Cloke and Peter Adler.

Noted as "one of the best teachers of mediation", he also specialises in conflict management training and coaching for senior government officials, executives and sports leaders. He works with various legislatures throughout the UK (including the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments and the Northern Ireland, Welsh and London Assemblies) on effective scrutiny of policy.  He facilitated the 2020 Climate Change Delivery Group in Scotland from 2009 to 2013.

He has worked with UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport, Sportscotland, and many sports’ governing bodies and athletes for a number of years, particularly in the lead up to the London Olympics. He is a founder of Collaborative Scotland (, which promoted respectful dialogue before and after the Scottish independence referendum. He is a frequent writer and commentator on collaboration in the political world and, prior to the referendum on Scottish independence, John set up and led Collaborative Scotland, a not for profit organisation established to promote respectful dialogue in the run up to the referendum.

Outside the UK, John’s work is well regarded in other parts of the world. He is a member of the Standards Commission of the International Mediation Institute, a regular speaker at the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Conference and is involved in many other international initiatives, most recently as the co-host of the keynote seminar at the launch of the Singapore International Mediation Centre and as a keynote speaker at the annual AMINZ conference in New Zealand.

He is a frequent contributor of articles to newspapers and journals and publisher of a book on Thinking Differently: Making a Difference Using Mediation in the public and private sectors in Scotland.

He was the first Director of Training and Education at the Scottish Bar from 1994-2002. During that time he established the Bar’s world leading and award winning advocacy skills programme. As a member of the Judicial Studies Committee, he also designed and delivered the first skills training courses for Scottish judges.

Experience as mediator and facilitator in disputes and differences including the following matters:

  • Very large transport infrastructure contract in Middle East involving multiple jurisdictions. Two days of tough negotiations. Matter resolved in mediation, value in the hundreds of millions
  • Dispute involving years of distribution of major components in Asia, with large UK plc and European contractor. Intractable matter resolved in one day
  • Investor/shareholder matter involving iconic industry leader in Scotland and public financing, complex matter with multiple interests, agreement reached over a number of separate days of mediation
  • Dispute over IPR and effectiveness of patented products in relation to unique engineering facility in UK, resolved in one day
  • Major construction project in Northern Ireland with cross-border implications, settled in two days
  • Complex planning matter involving housebuilding, farming and higher education interests and with multiple parties, mediated over several sessions
  • A number of sporting disputes involving governing bodies, officials, athletes and others
  • Banking matter with business customer based in Europe claiming wrongful payment from accounts held by UK bank, resolved in one day
  • Ongoing mediation involving residents in a village in very public dispute with a quarry operator and local council over operation of the quarry
  • Several mediations involving claims by commercial customers against banks arising out of banking crisis and recession
  • A number of claims by senior employees in managerial positions alleging discrimination by higher education institution
  • Complex, major PFI construction project in Ireland involving private and public sectors, with a value of many millions, resolved in one day
  • Distribution software contract involving Middle East interests and leading UK corporate, mediated over two days
  • IP dispute involving technology for mobile phones, with issues about warranties and earn-outs, involving inventors and purchasers of IPR. Resolved after day of mediation.
  • Planning dispute involving developer, landowners and leading university
  • Contract for provision of new software technology for large public sector body in Scotland, high profile matter, dispute with developer of technology, resolved in one day


Practising Member of the Scottish Bar from 1986 to 2002; Queen's Counsel since 1999.

Full time mediator since 2002, trained and accredited by CEDR in 1996, also IMI Certified Mediator.

Chief Executive of Core Solutions Group since 2001.

Distinguished Fellow, International Academy of Mediators 2009.

Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, Edinburgh Napier University, 2010.

Visiting Professor, University of Edinburgh, since 2016

Trained Negotiator at Harvard University, 1996.

Member of the UK Sport Resolutions Panel of Mediators.

Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

Director of Training and Education, Faculty of Advocates, 1994 to 2002.

Directory Quotes

“Internationally recognised as a major player in this area. A highly commercial mediator with experience in a broad range of matters. He is ‘able to get to the root of a matter’ and is praised for his ‘perseverance’.” (Who’s Who UK Bar 2015)

"John Sturrock QC of Core Solutions Group in Edinburgh was also announced as a Brick Court door tenant in May 2013, and is “internationally recognised as a major player in this area”." (Who's Who: International Who's Who of Commercial Mediation 2014)

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