We are very sad to announce the passing of Michael Moreland on 6th August 2023. He will be missed by all of us at Swinburne Maddison.
Mr Moreland senior, as he was known by many of us, was born on 7th December 1935. He was educated at St Mary’s College and after service in the Royal Navy, studied Law at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where, quite naturally, he discovered a love of rowing. Michael was articled to Harvey & Marron, Solicitors, in Newcastle, but after qualification joined Swinburne & Jackson, where he soon became a Partner. At one time, Swinburne & Jackson had 5 offices in the North East, but eventually, in the mid-1980s, each office became an autonomous firm. Michael, who was based in Durham, became Senior Partner of Swinburne, Jackson & Moreland and remained so until retiring from full-time work just before the amalgamation of that firm with Wilson Maddison (forming Swinburne Maddison) on 1st August 1998. At the time of his retirement, Michael was undoubtedly regarded as the most senior and respected member of the legal profession in the Durham area. For many years he remained as a Consultant to Swinburne Maddison, and his wisdom and practical help were always much appreciated.
Michael spent almost all of his professional life in and around Durham, and soon developed a great reputation as a result of his professionalism and expertise, especially in litigation and advocacy. Indeed, he was much in demand, not only to represent Defendants but also to carry out private Prosecutions, and numbered some very significant institutions among his clients.
For many years Michael’s family home was in Weardale, and he seemed the archetypal country gentleman when he came into the office, often wearing his tweed suits. He had a great love of countryside pursuits including fly fishing and shooting. He was a wonderfully charming and polite man, although he had a totally different character when fighting for his clients in Court, as many an unsuspecting opposition Solicitor found to their cost.
Not only did Michael make a significant contribution to legal life in Durham, he made a great impact in other areas also. He served as President of the Newcastle Upon Tyne Law Society, on the Board of Governors at St Chad’s College, and as a Trustee and member of the Board of Governors at Hatfield College, Durham University and was Chairman of Durham County Club. He was involved over the years in a number of Charities, including Cheshire Homes and Kids Kabin, and in latter years, after moving to Cullercoats, became heavily involved with the RNLI and Watch House.
Michael leaves a great legacy. We at Swinburne Maddison will ever be grateful for both his reputation and tremendous, loyal client base, which formed a substantial foundation on which we have built the firm that we are today. However, his greater legacy will simply be the gratitude shared by so many who had the privilege of knowing him and loving him.
Michael is survived by Claire, his beloved wife and companion of more than 60 years, his three children, Penny, a former Barrister and now Circuit Judge, Dominic, a successful Accountant and CFO, and our own Managing Partner, Jonathan, and seven grandchildren. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to them all at this sad time.