A leading legal government official, who held the post of Official Solicitor for almost 12 years, has died. Alastair Pitblado was known to lawyers nationwide for his role representing in court those without the mental capacity or means to represent themselves. He also took on the position of Public Trustee in October 2016.
Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, said Pitblado was admired throughout the profession for his long and dedicated service.
Heaton said: ‘Alastair was an ardent advocate for the rights of the vulnerable and was at the forefront of developments in that area of law. I also remember well his earlier career as a highly respected member of the Government Legal Service. I know that he will be greatly missed by those members of the judiciary and staff who were fortunate to work with him. But I think the support provided over the years to so many vulnerable people, by Alastair himself and by his office, should be regarded as a tribute to him and a mark of his achievement.’
Pitblado had previously worked as a senior lawyer in the department of trade and industry and the Office of Telecommunications Regulation.
Members of the legal profession have paid tribute to his career and character.
John McKendrick QC, attorney general of Anguilla said Pitblado was a man of ‘integrity and principles’.
Debra Powell QC, a barrister at Serjeants Inn Chambers, said his contribution to securing the rights and interests if those without capacity was ‘immense’.
Zena Soormally, a Court of Protection solicitor with national firm Simpson Millar, said: ‘I’m very sorry to hear of the death of Alastair Pitblado. When I was starting out he was supportive and kind to me, and he was one hell of a fighter for his team.’
Doughty Street Chambers posted a statement offering its condolences to Pitblado’s family and friends.
The chamber said: ‘Our barristers have known him particularly in his role as litigation friend, protecting and promoting the rights of many vulnerable and incapacitated adults and young people. He leaves a legacy to be proud of: he insisted on the highest standards of representation and pressed ground-breaking cases, such as P and Q v Surrey County Council to extend the protection of Article 5 of the Convention to thousands of individuals receiving restrictive care.’