Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal
|The Right Honourable
The Baroness Scotland of Asthal
|Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal (2007)|
|Shadow Attorney General|
11 May 2010 – 7 October 2011
|Preceded by||Edward Garnier|
|Succeeded by||Emily Thornberry|
|Attorney General for England and Wales|
28 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||The Lord Goldsmith|
|Succeeded by||Dominic Grieve|
|Advocate General for Northern Ireland|
12 April 2010 – 11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Dominic Grieve|
|Attorney General for Northern Ireland|
28 June 2007 – 12 April 2010
|Preceded by||The Lord Goldsmith|
|Succeeded by||John Larkin|
19 August 1955 |
|Alma mater||Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology
University of London
Patricia Janet, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, PC, QC (born 19 August 1955) is a British barrister, and served in many ministerial positions within the UK Government, most notably as the Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland.
Early life and career
Baroness Scotland was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica as the tenth child of twelve. Her family moved to Walthamstow when she was two years old. She attended the Walthamstow School for Girls. She is a Roman Catholic. She was educated at Mid Essex Technical College in Chelmsford where she pursued a London University (LLB) law degree in 1976 (in association with University College London). She was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1977, specialising in family and children's law. Baroness Scotland made history in 1991 by becoming the first black woman to be appointed a Queen's Counsel. She later founded 1 Gray's Inn Square barristers chambers. Early in 1997 she was elected as a Bencher of the Middle Temple. Scotland was named as a Millennium Commissioner on 17 February 1994, and was a member of the Commission for Racial Equality. She received a life peerage on a Labour Party list of working peers and was created Baroness Scotland of Asthal, of Asthal in the County of Oxfordshire on 30 October 1997.
From 1999 to 2001 Baroness Scotland was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where she was inter alia, responsible for the UK Government's diplomatic relations with North America, the Caribbean, Overseas Territories, Consular Division, British Council, administration and all Parliamentary business in the House of Lords. Baroness Scotland notably introduced the International Criminal Court Bill which sought to ratify the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court into UK law. She established the Pro Bono Lawyers Panel, a panel of British-based lawyers who provided legal advice on a pro bono basis to United Kingdom nationals imprisoned in foreign countries. She created an Overseas Territories Council for the Caribbean and reformed and restructured the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Division to be able to respond more effectively to emergencies and disasters abroad such as the 11 September attacks.
In 2001 she became Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, and was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. She was the minister responsible for civil justice and the reform of civil law including the comprehensive reform of land registration leading to the Land Registration Act 2002. She was also responsible for international affairs at the Lord Chancellor's Department and was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair as the UK Alternate Representative to the European Convention and was given primary responsibility for the negotiations in relation to the Charter of Rights which were successfully concluded in 2003. During this period she consolidated the strong relations created with all the applicant countries through the FAHR programme and the member states and was subsequently awarded the Polish Medal for her contribution to the reform and development of Law in Poland.
In 2003 Baroness Scotland was made Minister of State for the Criminal Justice System and Law Reform at the Home Office and deputy to the Home Secretary. She served in that post until 2007 under three Home Secretaries: David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and John Reid. Whilst at the Home Office she was responsible for major reform of the criminal justice system. She created the Office of Criminal Justice Reform which helped to create and support the National Criminal Justice Board and the Local Criminal Justice Board. Having acted as Chair, she then created three Alliances to reduce re-offending (Corporate, Civic and Faith based Alliance) and the Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence. She created an advisory group on victims and the Criminal Justice Centre, Victims and Witness units.
Baroness Scotland created Inside Justice Week and the Justice Awards. She introduced the Crime and Victims Act which created new offence of familial homicide which was successfully used to prosecute the killers of Baby P who would otherwise have escaped responsibility for his death. By 2009, domestic violence in the UK had been reduced by 64%. The domestic violence homicide rate had been significantly reduced and crime was at its lowest since 1991.
Baroness Scotland continued her responsibility for international affairs at the Home Office and continued to represent the UK in a number of difficult and challenging international negotiations such as those relating to extradition.
In 2004 Baroness Scotland was considered to be a possible candidate to become a commissioner of the European Union.
On 28 June 2007 Baroness Scotland was appointed Attorney General by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She was the first woman to hold the office since its foundation in 1315. As Attorney General she was the Chief legal adviser to: Her Majesty The Queen, Parliament and the Government, Supervisor and Superintendent of the Prosecutorial Authorities (SFO,CPS, RCPO), Leader of the Bar and had non-statutory oversight of the prosecutors in government departments, the Treasury Solicitors Department and armed services prosecuting authority. She was Guardian of the Rule of Law and Public Interest. She was one of the three Cabinet Ministers responsible for the criminal justice system and had specific responsibility for fraud policy and the National Fraud Authority and chaired the Inter-Ministerial Group responsible for the improvement of the response to fraud and e-crime.
She was instrumental in creating the Quintet which brought together the Attorneys General of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to consider issues of joint legal and systemic concern. During her time as Attorney General, Baroness Scotland continued to promote pro bono work by lawyers and created an international and Schools Pro Bono Committee which was responsible for co-ordinating pro bono work. She created the Pro Bono Awards and Pro Bono Heroes. She also created an Attorney General's Youth Network.
She was the last Attorney General for England and Wales also to be the Attorney General for Northern Ireland before the devolution of justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the subsequent appointment of a separate Attorney General for Northern Ireland. She became instead Advocate General for Northern Ireland, the UK government's chief advisor on Northern Ireland law, for a brief period until Labour left office.
When Labour left government on 11 May 2010, Baroness Scotland became the Shadow Attorney General and was reappointed to that role by Ed Miliband when he appointed his first Shadow Cabinet in October 2010, where she was instrumental in creating Labour's strategy against Rupert Murdoch. She is currently a president of Chatham House.
Baroness Scotland is the Patron of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence. She is the joint Patron of Missio, a charity which is the Catholic Church's official support organisation for overseas mission.
She is also a patron of the children's charity Children and Families Across Borders, a charity dedicated to reuniting children who have been separated from their families.
Baroness Scotland has been voted Peer of the Year by Channel 4, the House Magazine, Parliamentarian of the Year by the Spectator and the Political Studies Association, and received a number of other awards for her contribution to law reform in the UK and abroad.
Baroness Scotland was decreed and invested by Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, as a Dame of Merit with Star of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George in 2003. In 2014 she was appointed to the Council of the British and Irish Delegation of the Constantinian Order.
In January 2010 Baroness Scotland gave the keynote address to the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as part of the Lionel Cohen lecture series. In September 2009 she gave the keynote speech of the 9th Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture. In July 2009 she gave the keynote speech to the CPS Community Conference. In May 2009 Baroness Scotland gave the keynote speech at the Law Society of Scotland Conference. In February 2009 she gave the Magna Carta speech to Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. In May 2008 she delivered the keynote speech at the National Mentoring Consortium.
Baroness Scotland has given speeches to the Professional Organisation for Women in Antigua and Barbuda, the Association of Turkish Women in Britain, the Peace Alliance, the Local Government Conference, the Black Solicitors' Network, the University of Sussex. and the Medical Women's Federation.
A new extradition treaty with the United States of America had been signed on 31 March 2003. Baroness Scotland had the responsibility for promoting the necessary legislation in the House of Lords. The "NatWest Three" extradition case made use of this treaty. The three men were British citizens, living in the UK and working for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, a British bank. On 12 July 2006, in a highly unusual move, the Speaker of the House, Michael Martin, allowed an emergency debate on both the treaty and the NatWest Three after a request by Liberal Democrat frontbencher Nick Clegg.
During the debate, Baroness Scotland's view in 2005 that a higher threshold to establish "probable cause" was required by the UK to extradite from the US than vice versa was contrasted by Clegg to comments which the Prime Minister had made in July 2006, in which he stated that the evidential burdens on the two countries were the same. The 'NatWest Three' were subsequently extradited, and accepted a plea bargain arrangement under which they pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in the United States.
Illegal immigrant employment controversy
In 2009 Baroness Scotland was the victim of a fraud perpetrated by Lolo Tapui, an illegal immigrant. Ms Tapui had been using a forged passport for the period up to and including December 2008. Baroness Scotland began to employ Ms Tapui in January 2009. Ms Tapui was later jailed for eight months for fraud, possessing a false identity stamp, and overstaying her UK visa. At her trial Ms Tapui admitted to having been paid £95,000 by the Daily Mail. She was later deported.
Baroness Scotland had earlier been fined £5,000 for not keeping, as an employer, copies of documents used to check Tapui's immigration status, under rules Baroness Scotland helped draft as a Home Office minister. The investigation found that Baroness Scotland had not knowingly employed an illegal worker.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal.|
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at PublicWhip.org
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou.com
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George - Delegation of Gt Britain & Ireland
The Lord Goldsmith
|Attorney General for England and Wales
|Attorney General for Northern Ireland
|New office||Advocate General for Northern Ireland
Garry Hart, Baron Hart of Chilton
|Chancellor of the University of Greenwich