Advocate General for Scotland

Office of the Advocate General for Scotland
Scottish Gaelic: Àrd-neach-tagraidh na Bànrighe airson Alba
Department overview
Jurisdiction Scotland
Headquarters Victoria Quay, Edinburgh
Minister responsible
  • The Lord Keen of Elie QC, Advocate General for Scotland
Department executive
  • Michael Chalmers, Director and Solicitor to the Advocate General
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Her Majesty's Advocate General for Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Àrd-neach-tagraidh na Bànrighe airson Alba) is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, whose duty it is to advise the Crown and Government of the United Kingdom on Scots law. The Office of the Advocate General for Scotland is a ministerial department of the United Kingdom government.[1] The position is currently held by The Lord Keen of Elie QC, who is the first Conservative Advocate General.


The office of Advocate General for Scotland was created in 1999 by the Scotland Act 1998 to be the chief legal adviser to the United Kingdom Government on Scots Law. This function had previously been carried out by the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General for Scotland, who were transferred to the Scottish Government on the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. The office of the Advocate General for Scotland should not be confused with that of "Her Majesty's Advocate", which is the term used for the Lord Advocate in Scottish criminal proceedings.

Advocates General for Scotland

Colour key (for political parties):
  Conservative   Labour   Liberal Democrats

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Lynda Clark
(The Baroness Clark
of Calton
from 2005)
19 May 1999 18 January 2006 Labour Tony Blair
The Lord Davidson
of Glen Clova
21 March 2006 14 May 2010 Labour
Gordon Brown
The Lord Wallace
of Tankerness
14 May 2010 8 May 2015 Liberal Democrats David Cameron
The Lord Keen
of Elie
29 May 2015 Incumbent Conservative David Cameron
Theresa May

The first holder of the office was Dr Lynda Clark, then Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Pentlands and from 2005 a member of the House of Lords as Baroness Clark of Calton. On 18 January 2006, Baroness Clark resigned to take up office as a Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland.

The office was then vacant until 15 March of that year when, under section 87 of the Scotland Act 1998, its functions were temporarily conferred on the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alastair Darling MP, himself a Scottish advocate .

There had been substantial criticism from the judiciary and others of the length of time the office had been left vacant . On 21 March, however, it was announced Neil Davidson QC, former Solicitor General for Scotland, had been appointed Advocate General. He was created a life peer, as Lord Davidson of Glen Clova, on 22 March 2006.

On 14 May 2010, The Lord Wallace of Tankerness, a former Deputy First Minister of Scotland, was appointed by the Coalition Government.

Richard Keen QC was appointed Advocate General in the current Conservative government on 29 May 2015.[2] He was created a life peer, as Lord Keen of Elie, on 8 June 2015.


The Office has a staff of around 40.

All staff are on secondment or loan from other government organisations, mainly the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice.[3]

Offices of the Advocate General

See also


  1. "List of Ministerial Responsibilities. Including Executive Agencies and Non-Ministerial Departments" (PDF). Cabinet Office. December 2013. p. 47. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  2. "Advocate General for Scotland appointed". (Press release). 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  3. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2011-03-12.

External links

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