Cabinet Secretary for Justice

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The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, commonly referred to as the Justice Secretary, is a position in the Scottish Government Cabinet. The Cabinet Secretary has overall responsibility for law and order in Scotland. The Cabinet Secretary is assisted by the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs.

The current Cabinet Secretary for Justice is Michael Matheson, who was appointed in November 2014.


The position was created in 1999 as the Minister for Justice, with the advent of devolution and the institution of the Scottish Parliament, taking over some of the roles and functions of the former Scottish Office Minister of State for Home Affairs that existed prior to 1999.

As with the UK Secretary of State for Justice, but unlike some other justice ministers, the Cabinet Secretary does not have any oversight of prosecutions - in Scotland these are handled by the Lord Advocate.



The responsibilities of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice include: The Justice system, Criminal Law procedure, Civil law, Police, Fire and Rescue services, Legal profession, Violence reduction, Anti-sectarianism, Courts, Sentencing, Security, Human rights, Access to justice, Community safety, Anti-social behaviour, Prisons and prisoners, Female offenders, Criminal justice social work, Victims and witnesses, Reducing reoffending, Youth justice, Liquor licensing.

Public bodies[edit]

The following public bodies report to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice:

List of office holders[edit]

Minister for Justice[edit]

Name Portrait Entered office Left office Party First Minister
Jim Wallace Jim Wallace.jpg 16 May 1999 20 May 2003 Liberal Democrats Donald Dewar
Henry McLeish
Jack McConnell
Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson.jpg 20 May 2003 16 May 2007 Labour Party Jack McConnell

Cabinet Secretary for Justice[edit]

Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice (1).jpg 16 May 2007 20 November 2014 Scottish National Party Alex Salmond
Michael Matheson MichaelMathesonMSP20110507.JPG 21 November 2014 Incumbent Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon

See also[edit]