New Chief Inspector of Prosecution

Lord Advocate welcomes new appointment.  

Laura Paton has been appointed the new HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland. 

She succeeds Michelle McLeod who served in the role from 2013.  

Ms Paton has significant inspection experience gained both in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. She has been a Lead Inspector within HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland since 2013.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said:

“I welcome Laura Paton’s appointment as the new Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland.  I value greatly the work of the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland. Laura will bring to that important role a wealth of inspection experience and a strong knowledge of Scotland’s criminal justice system.

“I am grateful to Michelle McLeod for her work as HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland over the past six years.”

Ms Paton said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland. Independent scrutiny plays a key role in supporting an effective criminal justice system and promoting positive outcomes for the public in Scotland.

“I look forward to working with the inspectorate’s staff and building on the good work of my predecessor. My aim is to provide an independent, evidence-based assessment of the prosecution service, and to support continuous improvement in its delivery.”


Laura Paton was selected through an open recruitment process conducted in line with the Civil Service Commission Recruitment Principles.  The appointment took effect on 15 November 2019.

Ms Paton has a background in human rights law with a particular focus on the rights of  those involved in the criminal justice system and the rights of children and young people. Until appointed as HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland, she was a Lead Inspector for HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland where she inspected the state, efficiency and effectiveness of policing from 2013 to 2019. Ms Paton led inspections of a wide range of policing activity including local policing, custody, crime recording, call handling, firearms licensing and railway policing.

Previously, Ms Paton worked with HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) in England and Wales providing policy and human rights advice on the independent inspection of prisons and other forms of custody. From 2009 to 2013, Ms Paton was also the first coordinator of the UK's National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), a group of organisations tasked under international law with monitoring all places of detention. Prior to joining HMIP, she worked for the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland, Children 1st and the Children’s Legal Centre, where she was editor of a journal of law and policy affecting children and their families.

Ms Paton currently serves as a trustee for Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights. She has a First Class Honours Degree in Scots Law from the University of Glasgow and a LLM in Human Rights Law from Glasgow Graduate School of Law.


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