Scotland’s top judge to retire after three years in post

SCOTLAND’S most senior judge Lord President of the Court of Session has announced his intention to retire at the end of the month having completed three years’ service in that office.
Lord Gill, Scotland's longest serving judge. Picture: TSPLLord Gill, Scotland's longest serving judge. Picture: TSPL
Lord Gill, Scotland's longest serving judge. Picture: TSPL

He was appointed Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General in June 2012, having held the position of Lord Justice Clerk from November 2001.

In the course of his career he has presided over some of the most significant changes to the Scottish legal system in over a century such as his overseeing the implementation of the proposals of the Scottish Civil Courts Review.

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Under the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008, the First Minister will now establish a panel to recommend individuals who are suitable for appointment to fill the vacancy.

James Wolffe, QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said: “Lord Gill’s career has been one of outstanding service to Scotland’s legal system. At the bar, he was an incisive advocate, in great demand. A learned Keeper of the Advocates Library, he authored the leading textbook on agricultural law.

“During his career as a judge, he has contributed greatly to the development of the law in judgments characterised by lucid prose and clarity of analysis. He led the Scottish Law Commission for five important years, before being appointed, successively, to the two most senior judicial offices in Scotland, as Lord Justice Clerk and then Lord President. As Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill led the Scottish Civil Courts Review, which recommended the most significant reforms of the administration of civil justice in Scotland since at least the early nineteenth century; and, as Lord President, he has masterminded their implementation. Those reforms reflect Lord Gill’s deep commitment to a modern, forward-looking justice system as the bedrock of a just and successful society.”

He added: “Although Lord Gill has announced his retirement, he has not yet quite retired. At this moment, I pay tribute to all that he has done so far for the law in Scotland, and I wish him a long and happy retirement when that day arrives.”