Colonel James Lane Notter was the son of Richard Notter of Rock Island and Carrigduve, County Cork. He was educated as a Fellow Commoner at Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated BA in 1863, MB and MCh in 1865, MD in 1875 and MA in 1891. He also took the LRCSI in 1865, the licentiate in midwifery (LM) from the Rotunda Hospital Dublin in 1874 and the Diplomate in State Medicine in 1875 of the University of Dublin. He was a former house surgeon to the City of Dublin Hospital and clinical medical assistant to Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital Dublin, a Fellow of the Chemistry Society and a member of the Surgical Society of Ireland and the Epidemiological Society.
In 1866, James Lane Notter attended the 12th Session (Summer Session) course of instruction at the Army Medical School at Netley for commission in HM Service. The Summer Session was attended by 52 candidates, 24 for the British Service and 28 for the Indian Service. Admission to the Army Medical School was obtained by a public examination held at Chelsea in February and a further competitive examination was held at the close of each session at Netley in August 1866. The combined results of these two examinations determined the order of precedence in which candidates were gazetted. J L Notter was placed first in his course out of 24 candidates with a combined total of 4571 marks out of a maximum marks of 6900.
From 1876 to 1882 he served as Assistant Professor of Military Hygiene at the Army Medical School Netley, becoming Professor in 1889. In 1898, he became an examiner for the Part I examination for the Diploma in Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians. Professor Notter was the author of many books and papers on Public Health among which were:
- 1865: Ventilation experiments at Netley; Army Medical Department Report.
- 1868: Experiments on Dr Hassall's flour of meat.
- 1876–1879: Analysis of 347 samples of water.
- 1876: Disinfection in scarlatina.
- 1876: On filtration; On the analysis of milk; on the purification of water; on the analysis of air.
- 1878: On Malta fever its causes, pathology and treatment. Ed Med J 1876, vol 1.
- 1878: The purification of water by filtration.
- 1878: The chemical theory of contagium compared with the corpuscular. Paper read before the British Medical Association at Manchester in 1877 and published in the journal for 1878 vol 2.
- 1879: On the value of chemical and microscopical analysis of drinking water.
- The experimental study of disinfectants.
- 1891: Edited the eighth edition of Parkes' Manual of Practical Hygiene.
- 1896: With Surgeon Major R. H. Firth FRCS, Brigade Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel J L Notter wrote The Theory and Practice of Hygiene, London J and A Churchill, 1896.
Colonel James Lane Notter was married to Fanny McIllree daughter of Surgeon General John Drope McIllree and had one daughter. He died in a nursing home in Southampton on 24 October 1923 after a short illness.