Current Access to Justice Committee Members

Chair

The Hon Lady Carmichael

Lady Carmichael as appointed Judge of the Supreme Courts in May 2016.

Further information about Lady Carmichael can be found here.

Members

Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown

Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown was appointed as a sheriff in Dundee in 2019, having served as a summary sheriff since 2016.

Sheriff Principal Wade

Gillian Anne Wade KC graduated from the University of Glasgow (LLB Hons) in 1987 and was admitted as a solicitor in 1989. She qualified in English law and became a partner in firms in Glasgow and London with a particular interest in media law and defamation. She was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1998 practising in civil law and appearing in the Outer and Inner House of the Court of Session and the House of Lords. She was appointed as Legal Convenor of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland in 2004.In 2008 she was appointed as a full time Advocate Depute and served as a Senior Advocate depute from 2011 until 2014, during which time she conducted a number of high profile criminal appeals and prosecutions. During this time she was appointed head of the National Sexual Crimes Unit. She took silk in 2013. In 2015 she became a full time sheriff in Tayside Central and Fife in 2015 and has been a resident sheriff in Perth since 2016. In 2018 she was appointed as a part time judge of the Court of Session and regularly presides over High Court trials. In 2022 she was appointed to the Sheriff Appeal Court. She is a designated commercial sheriff and held positions as Chair, Relationships Scotland Tayside and Fife, a third sector charity supporting families in conflict; Sheriff member, Criminal Courts Rules Council, and Vice President of the Sheriffs and Summary Sheriffs Association. In January 2023 she was appointed Sheriff Principal of Tayside, Central and Fife and took up her position on the retirement of Sheriff Principal Lewis on 1st August 2023.

Fiona Drysdale

Fiona Drysdale is an advocate and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 2002. She is Deputy Clerk of the Faculty of Advocates and Clerk to the Board of Examiners. She is an Advocacy Skills Instructor on the Advocates’ Training Course and teaches Civil Court Practice at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to calling to the bar, she worked as a legal translator at the Court of Justice of the European Communities and she was a solicitor with Dentons, having qualified as a solicitor in 1998. She is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and the Université de Paris Sud.

Dean Purdie

Dean Purdie is a solicitor who runs his own civil litigation practice in Aberdeen.  He is a member of the Law Society of Scotland’s Education & Training Committee. He is a part-time tutor in civil court practice at Aberdeen University. He  joined the Access to Justice Committee in June 2016.

Employment Judge Joseph d'Inverno

Judge d’Inverno is currently (since 2002) an Employment Judge, sitting in Employment Tribunal (Scotland) and, since 2015 a Judge of the County Court in England & Wales sitting on the North East Circuit.  Before assuming full time judicial appointment in 2005, he practiced as a Solicitor Advocate (since 1993) and as a Solicitor since 1983 He currently functions as one of fifteen “Judge Mediators” in Scotland. Judge d’Inverno is a former member of the Sheriff Court Rules Council and, until 2016, was a serving member of the Territorial Army and Army Reserve.

Joel Conn

Mr Conn graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1996 and was admitted as a solicitor in 1998. He is a director of Mitchells Roberton in their litigation department, based in Glasgow.  He specialises in commercial litigation and debt recovery and has particular expertise in insolvency, factoring and finance leasing, complex secured debt recovery and all aspects of contract disputes. He was the first solicitor to be awarded accreditation by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Debt & Asset Recovery Law and frequently provides training on these issues to members of the legal and other professions as well as to clients.  Mr Conn also now sit part-time as a Legal Member of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

Thomas Docherty

Mr Docherty’s professional background is in press and public relations, in which he has had extensive experience.  He was Member of Parliament for five years from May 2010 to May 2015.

He is currently Head of Public Affairs, Nations and Regions at Which?.  He is responsible for leading on all engagement with key external audiences across the nations and regions of the UK, including establishing new relationships with external stakeholders in Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England.  He leads on work to position Which?  as a key consumer voice across governments and with key political influencers, with a brief to shape national and local government thinking on key consumer issues.  He also acts as primary spokesperson to devolved administrations, engaging directly with Ministers and parliamentary committees. 

Gillian Fyfe

Gillian holds a number of academic qualifications in law and research; and was awarded her PhD in 2014. She has co-authored a number of academic publications in relation to gender equality and public policy. Following completion of her PhD Gillian has worked in public policy and government relations for both local government and the third sector. She is currently the Strategic Lead for Strong Communities at Citizens Advice Scotland which covers a number of consumer and access to justice issues and is also a member of SLCC’s Consumer Panel.

Karen Auchincloss

The Scottish Government holds a standing appointment on each Council committee. Karen Auchincloss joined the Scottish Government in 2008 and has held a variety of policy and corporate posts covering matters such as legal aid, criminal justice, clinical priorities, parliament and legislation.  She is currently the Head of the Access to Justice Unit in the Justice Directorate 

Hazel Thoms

Hazel is manager of Policy and Development within the Strategic Development Directorate at the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

Hazel has worked for SLAB for 18 years. She currently holds responsibility for overseeing the development and management of SLAB’s grant funding programme; the management of the peer review process for Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers (SNSIAP) and is a senior member of the Guidance on the Administration of Legal Aid (GALA) project team.

In 2015 Hazel was seconded to the Money Advice Service in London to help them deliver their direct grants programmes. Hazel has previously held responsibility for working with pilot legal advice and information partnerships and aiding the development of the Civil Legal Assistance Offices. Hazel has been a member of the Debt Action Forum (2009) and the Tackling Problem Debt Group (2018-2019).

Hazel has previously worked as a local authority welfare rights officer, followed by work on regeneration policy, and then in HomePoint in Communities Scotland, with a focus on quality standards and the development of an accreditation model for housing advice.

Observers

The Council has nominated a number of observers to attend Council and committee meetings in order to assist in the carrying out of its functions.  In addition to members of the Access to Justice Committee the following observers attend committee meetings:

Kirsty Hyslop, Legislation Implementation Manager, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Craig Anderson, Depute in Charge of Offices of Court, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Chris Fyffe, Deputy Principal Clerk of Session, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service