Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland

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The Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland is a public body responsible for making recommendations on appointments to Scottish judicial offices. It commenced work in June 2002 as an advisory non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government. [1] All recommendations are made to the First Minister, who must consult the Lord President of the Court of Session before making his or her recommendation to the monarch in relation to full-time judiciary. Appointments to the office of Part-time Sheriff are made by the Scottish Ministers.[2]

Board Members[edit]

The Board has ten members (an equal number of lay and judicial/legal members) with a lay Chairing Member. The current Board members are:

  • Chairing Member: Sir Muir Russell KCB FRSE (since 2008)
  • Lay Member: Ms Elspeth MacArthur (since 2007)
  • Lay Member: Mr Sandy Mowat CA (since 2008)
  • Lay Member: Professor Andrew Coyle CMG (since 2009)
  • Lay Member: Dr Michael Ewart (since 2010)
  • Judicial Member: The Hon Lady Dorrian (since 2011)
  • Judicial Member: Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle (since 2013)
  • Judicial Member: Sheriff David Mackie (since 2012)
  • Legal Member: Mr Ian Gillies Armstrong QC, Advocate (since 2010)
  • Legal Member: Mr Martin McAllister, Solicitor (since 2008)

Former Board Members[edit]

Chairman: Sir Neil McIntosh CBE DL (2002 to 2008)

Lay Members: Mrs Barbara Duffner OBE FRSE (2002 to 2008), Professor Joan Stringer CBE (2002 to 2007), Professor Alan Paterson (2002 to 2008), Sir Robert Smith (2002 to 2007), Reverend John Miller (2009 to 2010)

Judicial Members: Lord MacLean (2002 to 2005), Lord Wheatley (2005 to 2007), Sheriff Principal Bruce Kerr QC (2002 to 2007), Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young QC Bt (2007 to 2010), Sheriff J Douglas Allan OBE (2002 to 2008)

Legal Members: Mr Colin Campbell QC, Advocate (now Lord Malcolm) (2002 to 2005), Mrs Valerie Stacey QC, Advocate (now Lady Stacey) (2005 to 2007), Mr Roy Martin QC, Advocate (2007 to 2010), Mr Michael Scanlan, Solicitor (2002 to 2008).

Statutory Responsibilities[edit]

The Board became an advisory Non-Departmental Body (NDPB) on 1 June 2009 under the provisions of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008. Its statutory responsibilities under the Act are that:

a) the selection of an individual to be recommended for appointment must be solely on merit;

b) the Board may select an individual only if it is satisfied that the individual is of good character; and

c) in carrying out its functions, the Board must have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of individuals available for selection to be recommended for appointment to a judicial office. This is subject to the provisions a) and b) above.

The purpose of the Board is to recommend to the Scottish Ministers individuals for appointment to judicial offices within the Board's remit and to provide advice to Scottish Ministers in connection with such appointments. The judicial offices within the Board's remit are:

- judge of the Court of Session

- Chair of the Scottish Land Court

- Sheriff Principal

- Sheriff

- Part-time Sheriff

- Summary Sheriff

- Temporary Judge, except in cases where the individual to be appointed already holds or has held one of the following offices: judge of the European Court of Justice, judge of the European Court of Human Rights, Chair of the Scottish Land Court, Sheriff Principal, Sheriff.

The Scottish Ministers may specify other judicial offices to come within the Board's remit but can only do so by laying a Scottish Statutory Instrument before the Scottish Parliament.


The Board based at Thistle House, 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5HD. Telephone number 0131 528 5101. It is served by a dedicated Secretariat team consisting of the Chief Executive, Secretary to the Board, a Policy Officer, an Appointments Team Leader and one Administrator.


The method of creating the Board and appointing members was not without criticism. The Law Society of Scotland in its members' magazine Journal was critical that the appointments process did not follow procedures recommended by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and the Chair of the Board is a lay member, a situation said to be "unique in Europe", where the norm is for self-governing bodies to control judicial appointments.[3]

Sir Neil McIntosh, Chair, was critical that the Scottish Executive did not put the Board on a statutory footing, as is the case for the Judicial Appointments Commission in England.[4]


  1. ^ "About the Board". Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. Retrieved 2007-11-19. [dead link]
  2. ^ Appointments process: "Office of Sheriff" (PDF). Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  3. ^ Criticism of the Judicial Appointments Board on the ground that it lacks any real authority: "The Judicial Appointments Board – a misnomer". Law Society of Scotland. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  4. ^ News Release: "Judicial Appointments Board". Scottish Government. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 

External links[edit]