Who is Scotland's new Lord Advocate and when will she start?

Dorothy Bain is set to appointed as the new Lord Advocate, replacing James Wolffe.

Ms Bain began her career as an advocate in 1994 and “took silk” – the legal term for becoming the Queen’s counsel – in 2007.

She has worked on a wide range of civil litigation, particularly in cases concerned with judicial review, civil liberties and human rights, personal injury and clinical negligence at all levels, including the Court of Session, Court of Criminal Appeal, High Court of Justiciary, United Kingdom Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

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She is appointed to the “A” list panel of counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and has extensive experience in both civil and criminal law.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe is outgoing in the role. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Lord Advocate James Wolffe is outgoing in the role. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

From 2002 to 2011, Ms Bain moved from civil practice to undertake a lengthy and successful period of public service as an Advocate Depute in Crown Office. This culminated in her appointment as the Principal Advocate Depute in 2009 – the first woman to be appointed to this post.

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As Principal Advocate Depute, Ms Bain was Scotland’s most senior prosecutor and as such conducted many complex and high-profile criminal prosecutions and appeals, including the Operation Algebra case that resulted in the conviction of (then) the largest paedophile ring in the UK.

She was also prosecutor in the case of HMA v Tobin – the first successful prosecution for murder of serial killer Peter Tobin – and HMA v Weir Group plc, the first successful prosecution of a Scottish FTSE 250 company for breaches of the UN Iraq sanctions.

Dorothy Bain QC is set to be named Lord Advocate.

Ms Bain is Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in Scotland, a serving Chair of the Police Appeals Tribunal, Scotland, and is appointed by the Lord President as a Special Counsel to represent the interests of accused persons in closed proceedings.

Legal directory Chambers and Partners states: “She is very strong in court, she cares about the case and is willing to go the extra mile. She’s incredibly hard-working and excellent with people". The Legal 500 UK says she is a “reliable human rights advocate, dedicated to success”, “hard-working, determined and confident in court“ and “highly recommended for civil liberties work”.

Her appointment needs to be approved by the Scottish Parliament.

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