Her Majesty the Queen, on the recommendation of the First Minister, has appointed the Rt. Hon Lady Dorrian QC as Lord Justice Clerk.
Lady Dorrian replaces the Rt. Hon Lord Carloway who was recently appointed Lord President.
Lady Dorrian will take up her appointment on 26 April, the day of her installation. She was nominated by the First Minister taking account of recommendations made by a selection panel constituted under the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008.
Lady Dorrian was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Courts in 2005, having served as a temporary judge since 2002. She was appointed to the Inner House in November 2012.
She is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1981 before becoming standing junior counsel to the Health and Safety Executive and Commission between 1987 and 1994.
She served as advocate depute between 1988 and 1991, and as standing junior to the Department of Energy between 1991 and 1994. In 1994, she was also appointed Queen’s Counsel. Between 1997 and 2001 she was a member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
The Lord Justice Clerk is the second most senior judge in Scotland. As such they have a prominent role in the criminal appeals system. The Lord Justice Clerk is one of the Great Offices of State in Scotland, is a Commissioner for the Honours of Scotland, and Senior Commissioner of the Queen Victoria School in Dunblane.
The Lord Justice Clerk also holds the office of President of the Second Division of the Inner House of the Court of Session, and, by virtue of the post, is chair of the Scottish Sentencing Council.
The process of selection for the Lord Justice Clerk is set out in the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008. In line with those provisions, the First Minister established a panel of four people and invited them to recommend individuals suitable for appointment.
The panel was chaired by Sir Muir Russell (chair of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland) and also comprised the Rt. Hon Lord Carloway, the Hon. Lady Stacey (Senator of the College of Justice) and Alison Mitchell (a lay member of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland).
James Wolffe QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said: “I am very pleased indeed to congratulate Lady Dorrian on her appointment as Lord Justice Clerk. Her broad experience, as an advocate and as a judge, equip her to serve Scotland well in this office at this time – when the legal system must continue to deliver justice while responding effectively to technological and social change.”
Christine McLintock, president of the Law Society of Scotland said: “I’d like to offer my warm congratulations to Lady Dorrian on her appointment. As one of our most senior and highly regarded judges with a wealth of experience in criminal law, she has already made a substantial contribution to Scotland’s justice system.
“The appointment of the first female Lord Justice Clerk is a significant step forward for equality and diversity within the judiciary, a wonderful role model for women in the legal profession.
“We look forward to working more closely with Lady Dorian in the future.”