Information pertaining to services of Ethics Advisor: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

Does the Scottish Cabinet Ministers retain the services of an Ethics Advisor?

If so, who is that person, and how much are they paid?


The Scottish Government does not use the term 'Ethics Adviser', as it is used by other governments such as the UK Government, however I have taken your question to relate to an individual providing independent advice on matters relating to the Scottish Ministerial Code in Scotland. The First Minister does retain the services of independent advisers on the application of the Scottish Ministerial Code. Such independent advisers were introduced by the June 2008 edition of the Code.

Where she deems it appropriate, the First Minister may refer matters to the independent advisers to provide advice on which to base her judgement about any action required in respect of Ministerial conduct. The findings of the independent advisers are published.

The independent advisers are currently:

  • Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini QC DBE (since August 2011)
  • James Hamilton, former Director of Public Prosecutions at the Irish Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (since January 2013)

The advisers undertake their role on a voluntary basis and are not remunerated.

You can access the latest edition of the Scottish Ministerial Code (the 2018 edition) and links to the reports of current and previous independent advisers on the Scottish Government website at

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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