Women to hold Scotland’s top legal posts for first time

Dorothy Bain QC has been nominated to be the new Lord Advocate while Ruth Charteris QC is set to become Solicitor General.

Women to hold Scotland’s top legal posts for first time Andrew Milligan/PA via PA Wire
Dorothy Bain QC is set to become Scotland’s new Lord Advocate.

Scotland’s two top legal posts are set to be held by women for the first time.

Dorothy Bain QC, who secured the first murder conviction against serial killer Peter Tobin, is in line to become Scotland’s new Lord Advocate.

She would take over the role as head of the Crown Office and chief legal adviser to the Scottish Government from James Wolffe QC, who announced last month he would step down.

‘I am extremely pleased to be seeking Parliament’s agreement to recommend Dorothy Bain QC and Ruth Charteris QC as Scotland’s law officers.’

Nicola Sturgeon

Ruth Charteris QC is set to take the second most senior role in Scotland’s prosecution service as Solicitor General, replacing Alison Di Rollo QC who also announced her resignation last month.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made the nominations for the posts, subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament.

The proposed changes come as the Scottish Government plans to review the Lord Advocate’s dual role in the wake of the Alex Salmond controversy.

The former first minister called for Mr Wolffe to quit over his role in the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints against him.

Sturgeon said: “I am extremely pleased to be seeking Parliament’s agreement to recommend Dorothy Bain QC and Ruth Charteris QC as Scotland’s law officers.

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“Dorothy has extensive experience in both civil and criminal law. She has appeared in cases at all levels, including the Court of Session (Inner and Outer House), the Court of Criminal Appeal, the High Court of Justiciary, the United Kingdom Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

“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 to 2020. On taking silk, she moved into Crown Office to become a full-time advocate depute.”

She also thanked Mr Wolffe and Ms Di Rollo “for their dedicated service to the Government, to justice and to Scotland as a whole”.

James Wolffe QC announced last month he would resign the post (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)Jeff J Mitchell via PA Wire
James Wolffe QC announced last month he would resign the post (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Sturgeon added: “James has been Lord Advocate during an extraordinary and challenging time and has repeatedly demonstrated his outstanding ability, personal integrity and commitment to the rule of law within Government.”

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 also said she is “extremely honoured” to be nominated.