Current Council Members

Information about individual Council members can be found below.

Chair

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The Rt. Hon. Lord Carloway (Colin John MacLean Sutherland)

Lord President and Lord Justice General

Lord Carloway was appointed Lord President and Lord Justice General in December 2015 having held the position of Lord Justice Clerk and President of the Second Division of the Inner House from August 2012.

He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1977, served as an advocate depute from 1986 to 1989, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990. From 1994 until his appointment as a judge in 2000, he was Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates. 

He edited “Green’s Litigation Styles”, and contributed the chapters on “Court of Session Practice” to the Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia. He led a review of the law and practice in light of the United Kingdom Supreme Court's decision in the case of Cadder v HM Advocate, while his report into criminal law and practice was published in November 2011.

Ex officio members

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Eric McQueen

Chief Executive, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service

Eric was appointed as Chief Executive of the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) on 1 January 2013.  The SCTS supports justice by providing the people, buildings and services needed for the work of Scotland’s courts and tribunals, members of the judiciary, and the Office of the Public Guardian.  The SCTS has over 1400 staff and an annual expenditure of more than £100 million.

Eric joined the SCTS in 2003 as Director for Grampian, Highland and Islands, before being appointed in 2006 as Executive Director Field Services with over-arching responsibility for all operational services throughout the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service.  He has been heavily involved in reforms of the justice system in Scotland in recent years, including unification of summary criminal courts and the wide-ranging changes to summary criminal justice.

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Colin Lancaster

Chief Executive, Scottish Legal Aid Board

Colin Lancaster was appointed Chief Executive of SLAB with effect from 1 September 2015.  Joining SLAB in 1997, he was previously Director of Policy and Development.  His responsibilities as Director focused on improving the availability, quality and cost-effectiveness of publicly funded legal assistance, both civil and criminal.  He was responsible for compliance and solicitor investigations, SLAB's research and management information departments, equalities, the Civil Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) and SLAB's substantial grant funding programme.

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Denise Swanson

Scottish Ministers’ appointee

Denise Swanson is a career civil servant who has been with the Scottish Government since 1982. She has held a variety of posts covering matters such as education, children’s hearings, community education and third sector. Denise is currently Interim Deputy Director for Civil Law and Legal System Division in the Scottish Government Justice Directorate. This covers private and family law, gender recognition, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals systems and Access to Justice. 

Denise was previously Head of the Access to Justice Unit in the Justice Directorate which covers areas such as legal aid policy, legal services and regulation of solicitors, advice services and wider access to justice policy.

Judicial members

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The Hon. Lady Carmichael (Ailsa Carmichael KC)

Lady Carmichael was appointed as a Senator of the College of Justice in 2016.  She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and called to the Bar in 1993, taking silk in 2008.  In practice, she specialised in public and administrative law.  She served as standing Junior Counsel to the Home Department between 2000 and 2008.  She acted as counsel to the Fingerprint Inquiry Scotland.  She was appointed as a legal member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland in 2005; a part-time sheriff in 2007; and a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) in 2014.

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The Hon. Lord Ericht (Andrew Stewart)

The Hon Lord Ericht was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Courts in May 2016.
He qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and practised with Clifford Chance and Tods Murray WS before becoming an advocate in 1996. 

He was appointed Standing Junior Counsel to the Department of Trade and Industry from 2000 to 2009 and elected clerk of the Faculty of Advocates from 2003 to 2009. After being appointed as a Queen's Counsel in 2009 he served as an advocate depute until 2013 then returned to independent practice in mainly commercial and public law. 

He held part-time appointments as president of the Scottish Tax Tribunals, visiting lecturer at the Université de Lorraine, France, editor of Session Cases (the official series of Scots law reports), chairman of the ICAS Appeal Tribunal, Senior Decision Maker for the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and member of the Scottish Civil Justice Council. 


In 2017 he was appointed as a judge of the UK Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and a member of the Upper Tribunal for Scotland. In 2020 he was appointed to sit as a Chairman of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal.

He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and a trustee of the LawScot Foundation.

Sheriff Principal Duncan L Murray

Sheriff Principal Nigel Ross

Sheriff Principal Ross qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and called to the Bar in December 1991. His practice was mainly in the newly-established Commercial Court in the Court of Session. He was appointed Standing Junior to the Department of Trade and Industry in 1999. In 2003 he was appointed part-time sheriff and as a full-time sheriff in 2006, initially in Glasgow Sheriff Court and from 2013 in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. He was a designated commercial and extradition sheriff, and has sat in the Sheriff Appeal Court since 2017. He was appointed Sheriff Principal of Lothian and Borders in May 2022.

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Sheriff Thomas Hughes (Dundee)

Sheriff Hughes graduated from the University of Strathclyde. He was a partner of the firm of McAuley McCarthy and Co from 1980 until 2003 and practiced principally in the field of civil litigation. Sheriff Hughes tutored on the Diploma for Legal Studies at the Glasgow Graduate School of Law from 1990 to 2004 and from 2000 was the Head Tutor in Civil Court Practice and Advocacy. In 2003 Sheriff Hughes was appointed as a part time sheriff and in 2004 he was appointed as a resident sheriff at Dundee Sheriff Court. A contributor to the latest edition of Macphail – Sheriff Court Practice, Sheriff Hughes also has a great interest in Education and from 2000-2003 served as a Director on the Scottish School Boards Association for East Renfrewshire.

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Sheriff George Way

Sheriff Way has been a civil law practitioner since 1978 and served on the Sheriff Court Rules Council from 2006-2009.  He has been a Sheriff in Dundee Sheriff Court for ten years and case manages all Permanence and Adoption processes. 

Advocate members

Vacancy - apply here

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith KC

Catherine is a practicing advocate who specialises in personal injury, judicial review and clinical negligence cases, with additional experience in criminal law. Once called as an advocate she has had a mixed civil and criminal practice, although it is principally civil now. She holds a strong commitment to pro bono work and has diverse experience both within and beyond the law.

 

Solicitor members

Jacqueline Harris

Jacqueline Harris

Jacqueline is a partner in the Litigation and Compliance team of the commercial law firm Pinsent Masons which is one of the largest legal practices in Scotland.  Jacqueline has over 25 years experience of litigation practice acting predominantly for commercial clients.  She has represented clients in litigation before the Sheriff Court, Court of Session and Supreme Court. 



Vacancy - apply here

Consumer representative members

Thomas Docherty June 2019

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.  

Vacancy - apply here

Lord President members

Vacancy - apply here
 

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 Council members, the following observers attend Council meetings:
 
Cameron Stewart, Director of Development and Innovation, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Nicola Anderson, Head of Legislation Implementation Team, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Chris Fyffe, Deputy Principal Clerk of Session, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service