James Sloan Mutrie Robertson graduated M.B., Ch.B. (Honours) from the University of Glasgow in 1928. He took the FRCS England in 1932, and the FRCS Glasgow in 1962. He was appointed gate surgeon to Glasgow Royal Infirmary but decided to pursue neurosurgery, training as a fellow of the Neurological Institute, Montreal. On returning to Glasgow Royal Infirmary he was appointed as neurosurgeon. After the Second World War, he was retained as a specialist in neurosurgery, and appointed to a new EMS hospital at Killearn where he pioneered and developed neurosurgery as an outstanding service to the west of Scotland. Robertson and Eric Paterson, with the support of Sir Charles Illingworth, formed the Glasgow and West of Scotland Neurosurgical Unit. Robertson also created the Institute of Neurological Sciences at Glasgow, which was based on the Neurological Institute at Montreal but modified in accord with his own experience at Killearn.