David Johnston practises mainly in public law (including human rights) and commercial law. He was appointed QC in 2005.
Leading cases in which he has been involved have concerned the constitutional status of the Scottish Parliament; the legality of banning hunting with dogs; the legality of forward tax agreements; the state's obligation under article 2 of the European Convention to hold an inquiry into a suspicious death; the claim by Pan Am Airways for damages arising from the Lockerbie bombing; and an international commercial arbitration concerning management of a North Sea oil rig.
David was Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge University from 1993 to 1999. He is the author among other publications of the textbook Prescription and Limitation. He also contributed to Gloag and Henderson's The Law of Scotland (11th edition).