Thursday, April 14, 2016

M'LADY JUSTICE CLERK: Lady Dorrian becomes first female judge appointed to position of Lord Justice Clerk - second most powerful judge in Scotland

First female judge appointed Lord Justice Clerk. FOR THE first time in the history of Scotland’s legal system, a female judge has been appointed to the role of Lord Justice Clerk, the second most powerful position in Scotland’s judiciary.

Lady Leonna June Dorrian (58), who is currently a judge of the inner house of the Court of Session - will take up her appointment as Lord Justice Clerk on 26 April 2016, the day of her installation.

The post of Lord Justice Clerk comes with a salary of £213,125 a year.

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 appointment of Lady Dorrian to the second most powerful judicial position comes after the recent appointment of the previous holder of the office of Lord Justice Clerk – Lord Carloway – to the top role of Lord President & Lord Justice General of the Court of Session.

During the six month search for a new Lord President which took place after the sudden retirement of Lord Brian Gill in May, 2015 - Lady Dorrian was appointed to a selection panel convened by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to interview applicants for the position of Lord President, reported in further detail here: To play the President - Hunt begins for Scotland’s next top judge

The panel, which comprised Sir Muir Russell – Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, Mrs Deirdre Fulton – Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, Rt Hon Lord Reed – Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,  Rt Hon Lady Dorrian – Senator, Inner House of the Court of Session – concluded their deliberations with a recommendation Lord Carloway (real name Colin Sutherland) be appointed to the position of Lord President – reported in further detail here: Top judge of Parliament House: Lord Carloway appointed as Scotland’s Lord President

With the ascension of Lord Carloway to the post of Lord President, the move required the appointment of a new Lord Justice Clerk.

A selection panel to interview candidates for the role was again convened by the First Minister earlier in January 2016 – the panel comprising of Rt Hon Lord Carloway – Lord President, Sir Muir Russell – Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, Alison Mitchell – Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, The Hon Lady Stacey – Senator of the College of Justice to select a candidate for the position of Lord Justice Clerk.

Lady Dorrian was then nominated by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to Her Majesty the Queen - after taking account of recommendations made by the selection panel constituted under the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 .

The panel which made the recommendations included Lord Carloway – who had been nominated for the position of Lord President by the previous panel which Lady Dorrian was a member of.

Lady Dorrian - Biography:

Lady Dorrian 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. 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.


 How judges select Scotland’s judges - in secret The selection panel for the office of Lord President - of which Lady Dorrian was a member – considered five candidates for the position of Scotland’s top judge – according to papers released by the Scottish Government in response to a Freedom of Information request by the media.

While there was significant speculation during 2015 that a female judge would be appointed to the top judicial post of Lord President, the unpredicted shift away from a male only top judge did not happen this time around.

Responding to queries, the Scottish Government refused to disclose the genders & diversity information relating to any of the candidates for the top job, citing privacy concerns.

Written exchanges between civil servants and the selection panel reveal a short listing meeting was held on 1 September 2015. The panel considered that two applicants Lord Carloway  [Redacted] merited an interview on the basis of the quality of their applications.

The panel agreed that given the level of appointment, candidates needed to be able to demonstrate that they met the criteria to an exceptional degree [Redacted].

The content of the selection panel’s report recommending Lord Carloway for the nomination of Lord President, was completely censored by the Scottish Government.

Emails between Scottish Government show First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had decided on Lord Carloway’s nomination as Lord President around 18 November 2015. Lord Carloway’s appointment as Lord President was finally made public a month later in December 2015.

Scotland’s judiciary faces a testing time as calls grow for judges to apply the same levels of transparency to themselves as is required of all other branches of Government, the justice system and those in public life.


Scotland’s current Lord President - Lord Carloway is to be asked to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in connection with three year probe on proposals to require judges to register their interests, as called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary.

The petition calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests containing information on judges backgrounds, their personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world.

The proposal to require judges to declare their interests enjoys cross party support, and was widely backed by MSPs during a full debate in the Scottish Parliament’s main chamber on 9 October 2014 - reported in full with video footage of MSPs and Scottish Ministers speaking during the Holyrood debate, here: Debating the Judges.

Previous articles on the lack of transparency within Scotland’s judiciary, investigations on judicial interests including reports from the media, and video footage of debates at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee can be found here : A Register of Interests for Scotland's Judiciary


Anonymous said...

If this were two politicians sitting on the same committee giving each other their old job the press would be all over it

Anonymous said...

Am I reading this correctly Lady Dorrian recommended Lord Carloway for Lord President and Lord Carloway recommended Lady Dorrian for Lord Justice Clerk?

Is this not a little conflicting interests at the least?

Anonymous said...

I was never really impressed with talk of a female Lord President during 2015.

The simple fact is a female First Minister would not get along with a female Lord President who effectively holds more power than the FM herself.

Think along the lines of giant cat fight gone horribly wrong if a female top judge trumped a female First Minister.

As anyone with a brain cell will now be well aware the SNP would be unable to cry their serial 'establishment foul' at a disobedient justice system headed by a female LP if Scottish Govt legislation failed to carry the day in court.

However a male LP suits the one party Scotland billing very well even if in this particular case well you know the rest.Something about puppet and strings.Yes?

A female Lord Justice Clerk.A step forward to some however look beneath the surface in the world of judges and politics.Not too difficult to scratch away the spin is it.What was that term someone so effectively used at the Scottish Parliament?

Anonymous said...

Lots of back slapping going on in those foi papers you published about how they picked Carloway.

And can I just say full credit to you for publishing all the material unlike some who drip feed us over weeks and leave out the most juicy parts because of lobbying from the legal fraternity.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.Another 'first' for Scotland to crow about.Looking at Wikipedia (sorry I do realise Wiki is a rubbish and rather skewed reference website) there is a list of Lord Justice Clerks going back to 1324 and then some.

So.Why has it taken the nats 9 years from 2007 to 2016 to fix a woman in a top judicial post? and why has it taken 692 years for the male dominated Scottish justice system to allow a woman in the position of Lord Justice Clerk?

692 years people.Scotland - where you can only now get into a top job if you agree with all the PR fluff put out by the Scottish Government who are on track via Named Persons to deliver babies with a vote SNP or else leaflet as they exit the womb.Stand by for judicial approval on that one.Fat £200k salaries will help.

Here's the Wiki bucket list of LJC's if anyone is interested.

William de Camera - Justice-Clerk to David II (1324-71)
Adam Forester
1426: James de Lawedre (d. after 1459)
1478: William Halket of Belsico
1491: Richard Lawson of Heirigs
1507: James Henderson of Fordel (k. Battle of Flodden 1513)
1513: James Wishhart of Pittarrow
1524: Nicholas Crawfurd of Oxengangs
1537: Adam Otterburn of Reidhall
1537: Thomas Scot of Pitgorn
1539: Thomas Bellenden of Auchnoule
1540: Henry Balnaves
1547: Sir John Bellenden of Auchnole & Broughton (d.1576)
1577: Sir Lewis Bellenden of Auchnole & Broughton (d.1591)
1591: Sir John Cockburn of Ormiston, Lord Ormiston (d.1623)
1625: Sir George Elphinston of Blythswood
1634: Sir James Carmichael of the Ilk
1637: Sir John Hamilton of Orbiston
1651: Sir Robert Moray
1663: Sir John Home, of Renton, Lord Renton
1671: Sir James Lockhart of Lee (d. 4 June 1674)
1674: Sir William Lockhart of Lee
1675: Sir Thomas Wallace of Craigie, Lord Craigie
1680: Richard Maitland, 4th Earl of Lauderdale
1684: Sir James Foulis of Colinton, Lord Colinton
1688: Sir John Dalrymple, 1st Earl of Stair
1690: Sir Alexander (or George) Campbell of Cessnock, Lord Cessnock
1692: Sir Adam Cockburn of Ormiston, Lord Ormiston
1699: Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, Lord Pollok
1702: Roderick Mackenzie of Prestonhall, Lord Prestonhall
1704: Sir William Hamilton of Whitelaw, Lord Whitelaw
1705: Sir Adam Cockburn of Ormiston, Lord Ormiston
1710: Sir James Erskine, Lord Grange
1735: Andrew Fletcher, Lord Milton
1748: Charles Erskine, Lord Tinwald
1763: Gilbert Elliot, Lord Minto
1766: Thomas Miller, Lord Barskimming
1787: Robert Macqueen, Lord Braxfield
1799: David Rae, Lord Eskgrove
1804: Charles Hope, Lord Granton
1811: David Boyle, Lord Boyle
1841: John Hope, Lord Hope
1858: John Inglis, Lord Glencorse
1867: George Patton, Lord Glenalmond
1869: James Moncreiff, Lord Moncreiff
1888: John Macdonald, Lord Kingsburgh
1915: Charles Dickson, Lord Dickson
1922: Robert Munro, Lord Alness
1933: Craigie Aitchison, Lord Aitchison
1941: Thomas Cooper, Lord Cooper[1]
1947: Alexander Moncrieff, Lord Moncrieff[2]
1947: George Thomson, Lord Thomson[3]
1962: William Grant, Lord Grant[4]
1972: John Wheatley, Baron Wheatley
1985: Donald Ross, Lord Ross
1997: William Cullen, Lord Cullen[5]
2001: Brian Gill, Lord Gill[5]
2012: Colin Sutherland, Lord Carloway[6]

Anonymous said...

Gill's fit of pique resignation over your petition will continue to haunt the judiciary for decades

Anonymous said...

Seems you are the only one in the press who bothered to highlight the fact Dorrian sat on the committee which selected Carloway while Carloway sat on the committee to select Dorrian.

Anonymous said...

How the judiciary manage these stitch ups and get away with it without anyone raising an eyebrow is amazing

Anonymous said...

A fair write up all things considering.

The content of the FOI papers portray Sturgeon as little more than the third wheel in the process we all know her to be.

Judge selects judge should be your headline.

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 15 April 2016 at 12:13

Credit where credit is due ... a female Deputy top judge is a step forward, however the real test will come if No.2 just sits there and agrees with everything coming out of No.1 and the vested interests crowd at ScotCourts & Crown Office.

It should be the job of a Deputy to promote a wider debate within the system rather than sit there and wave through everything put out by the leader.

For instance Lord Carloway took a stance on corroboration against that of his boss, former Lord President Brian Gill.

While the sensible approach of the former Lord President won the day on that particular argument, it remains to be seen if the new Lord Justice Clerk will differ or dissent from whatever policy is followed by Lord Carloway, from transparency in the judiciary to the now wearing thin claims of reforming Scotland's courts ...

Judges can lead if they like ... they have the power.

So why not use it instead of sitting there all muffled by the likes of the Law Society of Scotland, vested interests, gangs of legal aid thieves & dodgy prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

Something very wrong here and why is this all held in secret?We are paying their salaries so have a right to know what is going on and who is recommended on what grounds.Completely unacceptable all the reports are kept secret this should all be open to the public and media.