|The Right Honourable
Dame Elish Angiolini
DBE QC FRSA
12 October 2006 – 31 April 2011
|First Minister||McConnell, Salmond|
|Preceded by||Lord Boyd of Duncansby|
|Succeeded by||Frank Mulholland|
|Solicitor General for Scotland|
28 November 2001 – 12 October 2006
|Preceded by||Neil Davidson|
|Succeeded by||John Beckett|
|Born||Elish Frances McPhilomy
24 June 1960
Govan, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
|Alma mater||University of Strathclyde|
Dame Elish Frances Angiolini, DBE, QC, FRSA (born 24 June 1960), née McPhilomy, is a Scottish lawyer. She was Lord Advocate of Scotland from 2006 until 2011, having previously been Solicitor General since 2001. She was the first woman, the first Procurator Fiscal, and the first solicitor to hold either post. Since September 2012, Angiolini has been the Principal of St. Hugh's College, Oxford.
Early life and education
Angiolini grew up in Govan, Glasgow in a working-class family; her father was a coal merchant and later worked for Rolls-Royce and as a commercial driver. As a child she wanted to be a ballet dancer. One of her first jobs was working on a checkout at Marks & Spencer. She was educated at Notre Dame High School for Girls in the West End of the city, and studied at the School of Law of the University of Strathclyde, obtaining an LLB in 1982 and a Diploma in Legal Practice in 1983.
Angiolini's neighbourhood suffered from high crime rates. In the summer of 1976, when Angiolini was 16, she returned home to find her mother attaching shards of broken glass to the garden fence to deter intruders. The family home had already been broken into over six times that year.
Angiolini's first encounter with the legal profession came when, as a teenager, she was asked to give evidence in a burglary trial. Later, she recalled: "I was not terribly impressed. There were a lot of important people in gowns and witnesses were left a very long time in the witness room and not given any information... All the attention was focused on the permanent figures of the court, while us witnesses, and those in the dock, seemed irrelevant". The experience inspired Angiolini to pursue a career in law. Later as Regional Procurator Fiscal, Angiolini piloted a victim liaison scheme which was subsequently extended throughout Scotland.
Early legal career
Upon completing her legal studies, she joined the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to train as a Procurator Fiscal (public prosecutor). Whilst a trainee, she survived the Polmont rail accident; two passengers sitting next to her were killed.
Following her training, Angiolini spent 8 years as a Depute Procurator Fiscal in Airdrie, prosecuting in Airdrie Sheriff Court. In 1992, she was seconded to the Crown Office where she worked in the Lord Advocate's Secretariat. During her secondment, she developed an interest in improving the support offered to vulnerable victims and witnesses, and in particular to children.
She was then appointed Senior Depute Procurator Fiscal at Glasgow, taking operational responsibility for Sheriff and Jury prosecutions. In 1995, she was promoted to Assistant Procurator Fiscal at Glasgow.
In 1997, Angiolini returned to the Crown Office as Head of Policy, with responsibility for the development of policy across all functions of the Department. In particular, she helped the department prepare for devolution and was involved in the preparation of the Scotland Act 1998. At the same time, Angiolini was responsible for the department’s preparations for the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998.
She was then appointed Regional Procurator Fiscal for Grampian, Highland and Islands (based at Aberdeen) on 27 July 2000 - the first woman to hold such a post. In this role she piloted a victim liaison scheme which was subsequently extended across the country.
Angiolini was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland by First Minister Jack McConnell in 2001. Angiolini was the first solicitor, as opposed to advocate, to be appointed Solicitor General; this was not received favourably amongst all members of the legal profession.
In 2006, Jack McConnell praised Angiolini's work as Solicitor General, saying the decision to appoint her had been one of the best he had ever made.
Following the resignation of Lord Boyd, First Minister Jack McConnell nominated Angiolini for the post of Lord Advocate. Her nomination was passed by Parliament on 5 October 2006, with 99 in favour, 0 against and 15 abstentions. She was sworn in at the Court of Session on 12 October 2006 and one month later she was made a member of the Privy Council.
After the 2007 election there was speculation that the new SNP administration might replace Angiolini. On the morning after the election, Angiolini had cleared her office and was preparing to leave when she received a phone call from Alex Salmond, the new First Minister. Angiolini congratulated Salmond on his election, and said that she had packed up her things. "Unpack your things, and come and see me", replied Salmond. As suspicious as it sounds, Salmond decided that Angiolini should stay in post, but would lose her seat in Cabinet. The SNP had committed to making this change as part of their pre-election campaign. She would still have the right to address Cabinet and be present at meetings of the Scottish Parliament. Her reappointment was agreed by Parliament on 24 May 2007. This made her the first Lord Advocate to serve two different governments.
Later in 2007, Angiolini clashed publicly with the head of Scotland's judiciary, Lord President Hamilton, over the collapse of the World's End murders trial. The trial judge, Lord Clarke, had ruled there was insufficient evidence for the jury to convict and threw the case out. Angiolini then made a statement to the Scottish Parliament, saying she was "disappointed" at the decision, a move Hamilton said undermined the independence of the judiciary.
Angiolini announced in October 2010 that she would step down from the role of Lord Advocate after the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2011. Alex Salmond paid tribute to Angiolini, saying "her term as Lord Advocate has been marked by significant improvements and substantial success in the disposal of justice in Scotland". She was succeeded on 19 May 2011 by Frank Mulholland.
Academic and charity work
On leaving the post of Lord Advocate, Angiolini was unveiled as the first patron of LawWorks Scotland, a charity which helps people who cannot afford legal advice.
In September 2011 it was announced that Angiolini was to become a visiting professor at Strathclyde Law School, her old university. As well as teaching undergraduates, she was to develop a masters course in advocacy studies.
Angiolini is a member of Terra Firma Chambers, with a particular interest in public administrative law and professional negligence.
- "Scots gets first woman in top legal post". The Daily Telegraph (London). 28 November 2001.
- Carrell, Severin (6 October 2006). "The Guardian profile: Scotland's first woman lord advocate Elish Angiolini". The Guardian (London).
- "Angiolini, Elish Frances" in Who's Who, A & C Black.
- http://www.scottishopera.org.uk/biographiespage/the-board-of-scottish-opera#Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE, QC
- "Angiolini choice for top law post" BBC News website 5 October 2006
- "The Scottish Parliament Official Report", The Scottish Parliament, 5 October 2006. URL retrieved 12 October 2006
- "Privy Council Appointment of Elish Angiolini", 10 Downing Street website, 7 November 2006. URL retrieved 20 December 2006
- "Law officer Angiolini reappointed", BBC News Scotland website, 24 May 2007. URL retrieved 26 May 2007
- "Top judge enters World's End row". BBC News. 27 September 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Carrell, Severin (28 September 2007). "Leading judge steps into legal row over murder trial". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Lord Advocate announces she will step down at the next Scottish election". Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Elish Angiolini moves on". Scots Law News. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Elish Angiolini to teach law at Strathclyde University". BBC News. 19 September 2011.
- "Dame Elish Angiolini elected next Principal of St Hugh’s". St Hugh's College, Oxford. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Dame Elish Angiolini Named as New Chancellor of UWS". University of the West of Scotland. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- Alumnus of the Year
- The London Gazette: . 11 June 2011.
- "Main list of the 2011 Queen's birthday honours recipients". BBC News UK. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- "Scotland's first woman lord advocate symbolises the country's aspirations", The Guardian 6 October 2006
- Elish Angiolini profile, Gazetteer for Scotland
- "Interview with new Solicitor General Elish Angiolini", Law Society of Scotland online journal, January 2002
- Interview: Elish Angiolini, Lord Advocate, The Scotsman, March 2011
|Solicitor General for Scotland