Paul Cullen, Lord Pentland

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For other people with the same name, see Paul Cullen.
The Honourable
Lord Pentland
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Scotland).svg
Senator of the College of Justice
Assumed office
5 November 2008
Nominated by Alex Salmond
As First Minister
Appointed by Elizabeth II
Preceded by Lord Macfadyen
Solicitor General for Scotland
In office
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Donald Mackay
Succeeded by Colin Boyd
Personal details
Born Paul Cullen
(1957-03-11) 11 March 1957 (age 60)
Gosforth, England
Spouse(s) Joyce Nicol
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Profession Advocate
Website Scottish Courts Service

Paul Benedict Cullen, Lord Pentland (11 March 1957) is a former Solicitor General for Scotland, a Senator of the College of Justice (a judge of the country's Supreme Courts) and Chairman of the Scottish Law Commission.

Early life[edit]

Born in Gosforth, Northumberland, he was educated at St Augustine's High School, Edinburgh and at the School of Law of the University of Edinburgh.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Cullen was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1982, devilling for Alan Rodger QC.[2] He tutored part-time at the Faculty of Law at the University of Edinburgh from 1982 to 1986, when he was elected Clerk of the Faculty of Advocates, serving until 1991. He was Standing Junior Counsel to the Department of the Environment in Scotland from 1988–91 and appointed an Advocate Depute in 1992, becoming a Queen's Counsel in 1995. A member of the Conservative Party, he became Solicitor General for Scotland, the junior Law Officer in Scotland, in 1995, when Donald Mackay succeeded Lord Rodger of Earlsferry as Lord Advocate, the senior Law Officer. He held this post until the Labour election victory in 1997, when he was succeeded by Colin Boyd, who later became Lord Advocate.[3]

He was the Chairman of the public inquiry into the Gilmerton Limestone Emergency in 2001-2002, and has been Chairman of the Appeal Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and of the Police Appeals Tribunal.[3][4] In 2003, The Scotsman named him the seventieth highest earner in Scotland, and third highest earner at the Bar, after Richard Keen QC (who was sixty-first with earnings of £600,000 and a former Dean of the Faculty) and Michael Jones, Lord Jones (who was fifty-fifth with earnings of £750,000).[5] He was involved in a number of high-profile cases, including the Countryside Alliance challenge to the Scottish fox-hunting ban, judicial review connected to the Stockline Plastics factory explosion, and the first two appeals to the Inner House of the Court of Session under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the first such appeal to the House of Lords.[4]

Political career[edit]

Cullen contested Eastwood at the 1997 General Election for the Conservative Party, but was unsuccessful. No Conservative MPs were returned from Scottish constituencies at that election. Cullen served as Vice-President of the Edinburgh South Conservative Association from 1997 until he took the bench in 2008. He represented the Scottish Conservative Party on the Consultative Steering Group in 1998-99 which helped prepare procedures for the new Scottish Parliament. He was appointed Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel of the Scottish Conservatives in 2000.

The Bench[edit]

In November 2008, Cullen was appointed as a Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the High Court of Justiciary and Court of Session, the Supreme Courts of Scotland.[1][3] He took the judicial title, Lord Pentland,.[6] In 2010 he was appointed as a member of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber). He has also served as an Intellectual Property judge.

Lord Pentland was appointed as Chairman of the Scottish Law Commission on 1 January 2014 for a period of five years. Sixty per cent of his time is spent on Law Commission duties with the remainder devoted to his judicial work.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Cullen is married to Joyce Nicol, former Chairman of Brodies LLP (1983), with whom he has two sons and a daughter. He plays tennis and bridge, and is a member of the New Club.


  1. ^ a b "New judges appointed". Scottish Government. 5 November 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "Lord Advocate becomes a judge". The Herald. Glasgow. 9 November 1995. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Biographies - The Hon Lord Pentland". Scottish Court Service. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Paul Cullen QC". Legal 500. Retrieved 24 August 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Who earns what - part 2: NUMBERS 75 TO 51". The Scotsman. 18 September 2003. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "Court Shorts: Judge's wig rigmarole". The Scotsman. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "Biography at the Scottish Judiciary Website". Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Donald Mackay
Solicitor General for Scotland
Succeeded by
Colin Boyd