Dorothy Bain

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Dorothy Bain
Official Portrait of Dorothy Bain QC.png
Official portrait, 2021
Lord Advocate
Assumed office
22 June 2021
MonarchElizabeth II
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
DeputyRuth Charteris QC
(Solicitor General)
Preceded byJames Wolffe
Principal Advocate Depute
In office
June 2009 – July 2011
Personal details
Edinburgh, Scotland
Political partyNone
Spouse(s)Lord Turnbull
Alma materUniversity of Aberdeen

Dorothy Ruth Bain QC (born 1964) is a Scottish advocate who has served as Lord Advocate since 2021.[1] She previously served as the Principal Advocate Depute from 2009 to 2011, becoming the first and highest-ranking woman to hold the prosecutorial position in Scotland.[2]

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Bain attended the University of Aberdeen School of Law, graduating with an LLB and a Diploma in Legal Practice. In 1994, she became an advocate and in 2007 she was appointed to the Queen's Counsel.[1] Bain served as an Advocate Depute in the Crown Office from 2002 to 2011 and was appointed the first female Principal Advocate Depute from 2009 to 2011. In 2008, she was commissioned to report on the prosecution of sex crimes in Scotland, the outcome of which led to the formation of Scotland's National Sex Crimes Unit in 2009.[1][3] She returned to private practice in 2011.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon nominated Bain for Lord Advocate and on 22 June 2021 she was sworn into office at the Court of Session with Ruth Charteris QC, Solicitor General. It is the first time both positions have been held by women at the same time.

Early life and education[edit]

Dorothy Ruth Bain was born in 1964 in Edinburgh, Scotland. She studied at the University of Aberdeen School of Law, earning an LLB degree and a Diploma in Legal Practice.

Legal career[edit]

Advocate Depute[edit]

Bain began her career as an advocate in 1994 and from 2002 to 2011 she served as an Advocate Depute working within the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.[1]In 2008, she was commissioned by the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General to report on and make recommendations on the prosecution of sex crimes in Scotland, the outcome of which led to the formation of Scotland's National Sexual Crimes Unit.[1][3]

Principal Advocate Depute[edit]

Bain before the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee, 2018

In 2009, she became the first and highest-ranking female to hold the prosecutorial position in Scotland, as Principal Advocate Depute.[2] She became known for her prosecution of high-profile cases such as the serial killer Peter Tobin, as well the prosecution of four members of a drug gang for murder, and a wide-ranging 2009 child pornography case.[4][5][6]

Bain has been instructed in cases 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.

Private Practice[edit]

Bain returned to private practice in 2011.[7] She represented the family of a victim of the 2014 Glasgow bin lorry crash. She also represented the petitioner in a petition to the Nobile Officium of the High Court of Justiciary which held that where an accused person in criminal proceedings seeks to admit evidence of sexual history, the complainer must be told of the content of the application; invited to comment on the accuracy of any allegations within it; and be asked to state any objections which they might have to the granting of the application.[8]

Lord Advocate[edit]

Bain (left), Nicola Sturgeon (centre), and Ruth Charteris QC (right), 2021.

On 16 June 2021, it was announced that Bain would be nominated by Nicola Sturgeon, subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament, to take up office as Lord Advocate, succeeding James Wolffe.[9] Her appointment as Lord Advocate was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 17 June 2021.[10] She was sworn into office at the Court of Session on 22 June 2021.[11][12]

Bain has promised to act "independently" and has state stated she will assist the First Minister over a review of the functions of Lord Advocate.[13] She is likely to defend the Scottish Parliament over the Scottish Government's second Scottish independence referendum proposal.[14]

Bain was appointed to the Privy Council on 10 November 2021.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dorothy Ruth Bain". Faculty of Advocates. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Dorothy Bain QC -". Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b Damien Henderson, "National unit to investigate sex crimes", The Herald, 7 March 2009.
  4. ^ Brian Horne, "This Is No Whodunit: Prosecutor Tells Angelika Murder Trial Jury of the 'Powerful and Compelling' Case against Tobin"[dead link], Daily Record, 3 May 2007
  5. ^ "Lord Advocate announces changes to Crown Counsel team", The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, 3 March 2009.
  6. ^ Sarah Nelson, "Justice done: but questions remain after paedophile trial", The Herald, 12 May 2009.
  7. ^ "New Senior Prosecution Team for High Court Cases", Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Retrieved 2015-06-02).
  8. ^ High Court full bench finds nobile officium petition by rape complainer competent, 19 March 2021.
  9. ^ Law Officer appointments, 16 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Sturgeon commits to examine splitting lord advocate dual role", Glasgow Herald, 17 June 2021
  11. ^ "Lord Advocate vows to act independently", Scottish Legal News, 22 June 2021
  12. ^ [1], Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service on Twitter, 22 June 2021
  13. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (22 June 2021). "New Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain vows to act "independently" as top law officer". Daily Record. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  14. ^ "New Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC likely to 'back' Holyrood indyref plan". The National. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  15. ^

External links[edit]

  • [2] at Ampersand Stable of Advocates (archived on the Wayback Machine on 16 June 2021)
Legal offices
Preceded by Lord Advocate