Law Officer appointments

New Lord Advocate and Solicitor General announced.

The First Minister has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament seeking agreement to recommend to HM The Queen that Dorothy Bain QC and Ruth Charteris QC be appointed as the new Scottish Law Officers.

If parliament approves the nominations, Ms Bain will take up the position of Lord Advocate, replacing James Wolffe QC who will demit office once Her Majesty has signed the warrant appointing his successor.

Ms Charteris will become the new Solicitor General for Scotland, succeeding Alison Di Rollo QC.

If successful the appointments will mark the first time both posts have been held by women simultaneously.

The appointments will be made by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the First Minister, with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Wolffe informed the First Minister last year that he intended to leave office following the recent election and confirmed his intention before her re-election as First Minister. Ms di Rollo also confirmed her intention to stand down following this year’s election.

The First Minister said:

“I am extremely pleased to be seeking parliament’s agreement to recommend Dorothy Bain QC and Ruth Charteris QC as Scotland’s law officers.

Dorothy has extensive experience in both civil and criminal law. She has appeared in cases at all levels, including the Court of Session (Inner & Outer House), the Court of Criminal Appeal, the High Court of Justiciary, the United Kingdom Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

“Dorothy was the first woman to be appointed as Principal Advocate Depute and has conducted many complex and high profile criminal prosecutions and appeals.  She is currently Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in Scotland and a serving Chair of the Police Appeals Tribunal.

“Ruth was a Standing Junior to the Scottish Government from 2012 and was Second Standing Junior to the Scottish Government from 2016 - 2020.  On taking Silk she moved into Crown Office to become a full-time Advocate Depute.”

Dorothy Bain QC said:

“I am honoured to be nominated by the First Minister to hold the office of Lord Advocate. I am conscious of the responsibilities and importance of the role and, if appointed, will do my best to serve the people of Scotland.”

Ruth Charteris QC said:

“I am extremely honoured to be recommended for appointment and, if approved by Parliament, look forward to working with Dorothy Bain.”

The First Minister thanked both Mr Wolffe and Ms Di Rollo for their service.

She said:

“James has been Lord Advocate during an extraordinary and challenging time and has repeatedly demonstrated his outstanding ability, personal integrity and commitment to the rule of law within Government. 

“As well as those attributes, I would like to pay tribute to the sheer hard work and dedication he has shown during his years in office.

“In her role as Solicitor General, Alison has been tireless in her support for the Lord Advocate, the work of lawyers within Government and of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

“I thank both James and Alison for their dedicated service to the Government, to justice and to Scotland as a whole.”


The Lord Advocate is a member of the Scottish Government and is its senior Law Officer.

The Lord Advocate is also head of the systems of criminal prosecution and investigation of deaths and, in relation to these functions acts independently of any other person and is not subject to the ordinary rules about collective ministerial decisions.  The current recommendation for appointment is not being made on the basis of party political affiliation.

The Solicitor General is the Lord Advocate’s deputy and assists in carrying out the Lord Advocate’s functions. The Solicitor General is also a member of the Scottish Government. The current recommendation for appointment is not being made on the basis of party political affiliation.

More information about the role of Lord Advocate and Solicitor General.

The Government intends to publish a consultation on the functions of the law officers, and will do so in due course.


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