Trousers-row lawyer to sit on bench

THE first female lawyer to appear before a Scottish court wearing trousers was today named as a judge.

Groundbreaking Capital advocate Anne Smith QC made history when she appeared at Edinburgh’s Court of Session in heart-shaped earrings and a pair of smart black trousers under her robes four years ago.

Based on the recommendation of former First Minister Henry McLeish, Mrs Smith will become just the third female appointee to the Supreme Court Bench.

A specialist in medical negligence, the 46-year-old once appeared for a woman whose husband went to court to try to prevent her having an abortion.

She fills the vacancy created by the promotion of Lord Gill to the office of Lord Justice Clerk.

Mrs Smith joined the bar in 1980 and served as a temporary sheriff from 1995-1999 and was appointed Advocate Deputy in 2000. She will join Lady Cosgrove and Lady Paton on the bench, who were appointed in 1996 and 2000 respectively.

In April, top lawyer Donald Findlay QC blamed Mrs Smith for falling dress standards in court.

Following a stern warning from Nigel Emslie, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, over lawyers sporting casual sweaters, open-necked shirts, suede shoes and trainers, Mr Findlay said: "The drop in standards began when female lawyers were allowed to wear trousers in court.

"They are all right for going to Tesco in, but not suitable dress for ladies to wear in court."