Public appointment: Chair and Members appointed to the Scottish Legal Aid Board

Public appointments news release

The Minister for Victims and Community Safety today announced the appointment of Dr William Moyes as Chair, Fiona Cook and David Massaro as Legal Members and of William Cowan as a Non-Legal Member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.


Dr William Moyes has extensive experience as a Chair or non-executive director in the public and private sectors, with a particular emphasis on bodies responsible for regulating conduct and performance, competition and consumer protection. His Chair appointments have included the Gambling Commission, the General Dental Council and the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts (“Monitor”) and his non-executive director appointments have included the Office of Fair Trading and the Legal Services Board.  In these roles Bill has particularly focussed on corporate governance and performance, and on ensuring good relationships with those served by the regulated bodies. Having completed a PhD in theoretical chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, Bill Moyes joined the Civil Service in 1974 and spent the next 20 years in policy-making roles in Whitehall, including the Economic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, and in various departments of the then Scottish Office, including four years as Director of Strategy and Performance Management for the NHS in Scotland. After leaving the Civil Service, he spent six years in the Bank of Scotland. In 2000 he became Director-General of the British Retail Consortium, the representative body for the retail sector.

Legal Members

Fiona Cook is originally from Dundee and studied Politics then Law at Edinburgh University. Throughout her legal career she has been based in Greenock. In 2000, Fiona Cook established her own firm which focuses on family law and children’s hearings. Fiona Cook is a civil legal aid, children’s legal aid and peer reviewer. She is also a safe guarder and legal member of the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland.

David Massaro is an Advocate at the Scottish Bar, and a member of Axiom Advocates. He specialises in civil and public law. He has served as a standing junior counsel to the Advocate General for Scotland since 2015. He regularly appears in Courts and Tribunals throughout Scotland. He brings substantial knowledge of Scots civil law, and a deep understanding of how the Scottish civil court system operates in practice, to the Board.

Non-Legal Member

William Cowan is a former senior civil servant in the Scottish Government, most recently Head of Justice Transformation, and previously Head of Criminal Justice. Willie has extensive experience of the justice system having held roles in policy development, operational delivery and corporate governance in different organisations within the justice system and in other roles across the Scottish Government and its Agencies and NDPBs.


These appointments will be for 3 years and will run from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2027.

These appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


Dr William Moyes appointment attracts a remuneration of £338.60 per day for a time commitment of up to 104 days per annum.

Fiona Cook, William Cowan and David Massaro’s appointments attracts a remuneration of £242 per day for a time commitment of up to 42 days per annum.

Other ministerial appointments

Fiona Cook is a Legal Member of the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland, for which she receives remuneration of £436.92 per day, for a time commitment of 10 – 30 days per annum.

David Massaro is Counsel of the Standing Junior Counsel to the Advocate General for Scotland, for which he receives remuneration of £120 per hour, for a variable time commitment.

Dr William Moyes and William Cowan do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.   

Fiona Cook, William Cowan, David Massaro and Dr William Moyes had no political activity within the last five years.


The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) was set up in 1987 to manage legal aid in Scotland and is a non-departmental public body responsible to the Scottish Government. Legal aid allows people who would otherwise not be able to afford it, to get help for their legal problems.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board’s work is overseen by board members, who are appointed by Scottish Ministers. The number of members can vary from 11 to 15. To give a balanced range of knowledge and experience, they include people with backgrounds in business, the advice sector and the wider community as well as solicitors and advocates and a person with knowledge of court procedure and practice.

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