Dorothy Bain QC to become Lord Advocate

Dorothy Bain QC

Dorothy Bain QC is to be Scotland’s next Lord Advocate, while Ruth Charteris QC will take up the role of Solicitor General.

If the Scottish Parliament approves the nominations, Ms Bain will replace James Wolffe QC who will demit office once Her Majesty The Queen has signed the warrant appointing his successor.

Ms Charteris will succeed Alison Di Rollo QC.

The appointments will mark the first time both posts have been held by women simultaneously.

The office of Lord Advocate has come under intense scrutiny in recent months as a result of Mr Wolffe’s involvement in the Salmond inquiry. A survey conducted by Scottish Legal News found overwhelming support for splitting the office. The SNP also made a commitment in its manifesto to consult on whether the Lord Advocate’s role should be divided. As it stands, the role is functionally equivalent to those of director of public prosecutions and attorney general in other jurisdictions.

The possibility of the Solicitor General becoming chief legal advisor to the Scottish government has been mooted.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Dorothy was the first woman to be appointed as principal advocate depute and has conducted many complex and high profile criminal prosecutions and appeals. She is currently counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in Scotland and a serving chair of the Police Appeals Tribunal.

“Ruth was a standing junior to the Scottish government from 2012 and was second standing junior to the Scottish government from 2016 - 2020. On taking silk she moved into Crown Office to become a full-time advocate depute.”

Ampersand Advocates’ head clerk, Alan Moffat, told SLN: “As one of Scotland’s most respected senior counsel, I am very pleased to hear of Dorothy’s appointment. She has been a valued member of Ampersand and we wish her well with her new role.”

Stable director, Susanne Tanner QC, added: “I send personal congratulations to Dorothy on her appointment, as well as celebrating her appointment on behalf of the stable. With her strong commitment to justice and empathy for all involved in the judicial process, I am sure that she will excel in her role as Lord Advocate.”

Solicitor Aamer Anwar told SLN that Ms Bain would restore confidence in the system.

He said: “I welcome the appointment of Dorothy Bain QC as Lord Advocate. Having worked with her for several years on behalf of the families of Sheku Bayoh, Katie Allan and William Lindsay I have found her to be an outstanding advocate, full of empathy for victims and driven by an unshakeable desire for justice.

“Ms Bain is highly respected across our legal system and widely regarded for her intellect and integrity.

“Many will regard the role as a poisoned chalice, but the Dorothy Bain everyone knows would never shy away from doing the right thing and will rebuild confidence in a prosecution service, where morale has been rock bottom for some time.

“Whilst it is a great loss to the defence profession to lose Dorothy to the Crown, I wish her all the best.”

Ms Bain said: “I am honoured to be nominated by the First Minister to hold the office of Lord Advocate. I am conscious of the responsibilities and importance of the role and, if appointed, will do my best to serve the people of Scotland.”

Ms Charteris commented: “I am extremely honoured to be recommended for appointment and, if approved by Parliament, look forward to working with Dorothy Bain.”

Tags: appointments

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