Professor Sir David Edward was born in Perth, Scotland, in 1934.
He graduated in Classics at Oxford and in Law at Edinburgh University after national service as an officer in the Royal Navy. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish Bar) in 1962 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1974. He acted as Clerk and Treasurer of the Faculty from 1967 to 1977.
He represented the Faculty of Advocates as delegate to the Consultative Committee (now the Council) of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Community (CCBE) and was President of the CCBE from 1978 to 1980. In the course of his practice at the Bar, he appeared eight times in the House of Lords and four times before the European Court of Justice.
He was Salvesen Professor of European Institutions and Director of the Europa Institute at the University of Edinburgh from 1985 to 1989. During that period he served as chairman of an investment trust and as a director of a private bank and of the Harris Tweed Association. He served on three occasions as Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the EC.
He was appointed a Judge of the newly-created European Court of First Instance in 1989 and as a Judge of the European Court of Justice in 1992. He retired on 7 January 2004 and now sits as a Temporary (part-time) Judge in the Inner House of the Court of Session (Scotland's court of appeal for civil, commercial and administrative cases). He is a CEDR-accredited mediator.
He is an honorary Professor of the University of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford, and an honorary Bencher of Gray's Inn. He has been awarded honorary degrees by seven universities in Scotland, England and Germany. He was awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2005, and is Convener of the Society's International Committee.
He is Chairman of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, the Scottish Council of Independent Schools and the Europa Institute of the University of Edinburgh; President of the Franco-Scottish Society; Vice-President of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law; Vice-President of the UK Association for European Law; Vice-President of the International Association of Business and Parliament and a Trustee of the Industry and Parliament Trust. He is an honorary Trustee of the European Academy of European Law in Trier and serves on committees of universities in Scotland, England and Germany.