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Cabinet Secretary for Justice

Current role holder: Michael Matheson MSP

Michael Matheson MSP

Michael Matheson was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Justice in November 2014 and reappointed in May 2016.


The Cabinet Secretary is responsible for:

  • anti-sectarianism
  • community safety, anti-social behaviour and violence reduction
  • courts, sentencing, the legal profession and civil law
  • criminal justice social work, victims, witnesses and access to justice
  • female offenders
  • human rights
  • justice system and criminal law procedure
  • liquor licensing
  • police, fire and rescue services
  • prisons and prisoners
  • reducing reoffending
  • security
  • youth justice

Supporting Ministers


He was born in Glasgow in 1970 and educated at St John Bosco Secondary School. He went on to study at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, where he obtained a BSc in Occupational Therapy. He also holds a BA and a Diploma in Applied Social Sciences from the Open University.

Prior to becoming an MSP, Mr Matheson practised as a Community Occupational Therapist with Stirling Council, Central Regional Council, and Highland Regional Council.

He was elected as the MSP for Falkirk West following the May 2007 elections. Previous to that he was a Regional MSP for Central Scotland from 1999 to 2007. Before being appointed Minister for Public Health and Sport, Mr Matheson was Vice Convenor of the European and External Relations Committee. He also sat on the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee, and previously served on the Justice and Enterprise and Culture Committees.

He was re-elected in May 2011 and thereafter appointed as Minister for Public Health.