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Law Officer appointments

Published: 31 May 2016 10:00
Part of:
Law and order

Nominations for Lord Advocate and Solicitor General complete ministerial team

The First Minister has recommended the appointment of James Wolffe QC and Alison Di Rollo as Scotland's new law officers.

Subject to the approval of Parliament, James Wolffe will take up the position of Lord Advocate, replacing Frank Mulholland QC who stepped down following the Scottish parliamentary election.

Senior Advocate Depute Alison Di Rollo will become the new Solicitor General. Ms Di Rollo succeeds Lesley Thomson. Ms Thomson, who was appointed to the post in 2011, has informed the First Minister that she wishes to pursue new challenges.

The appointments will be made by the Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister, with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament. The appointments, if approved, will complete the First Minister's newly-appointed ministerial team.

The First Minister said:

"I am extremely pleased to recommend the appointments of James Wolffe and Alison Di Rollo as Scotland's senior law officers.

"James has an outstanding legal background and extensive experience at all levels, including the House of Lords, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

"Alison led the work of the ground-breaking National Sexual Crimes Unit (NSCU) for three years, having previously held the role of deputy. Her outstanding leadership in this most sensitive of areas has inspired confidence in all connected to it."

James Wolffe said:

"I thank the First Minister for nominating me to the office of Lord Advocate. If I am appointed, it will be a great privilege to serve Scotland in that role."

Alison Di Rollo said:

"I am both delighted and honoured to be nominated for this role by the First Minister and I am looking forward to working with James in his new role."

The First Minister thanked both Frank Mulholland QC and Lesley Thomson QC for their service in the roles.

She said:

"In his time as Lord Advocate, Frank has made a substantial contribution to both the law and to Scottish society. The creation of the National Sexual Crimes Unit was just one example of the increased specialisation of the Crown Office that Frank Mulholland presided over. In her role as Solicitor General, Lesley's work, particularly around domestic abuse, was pivotal in moving towards a system that instils confidence in victims of abuse and ensures that their abusers are held to account. I thank both Frank and Lesley for their dedicated service to the Government, to justice and to Scotland as a whole."

Biographies

James Wolffe QC is a leading Senior Counsel. He became an advocate in 1992 and took silk in 2007. In 2014 he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates. He was First Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Ministers from 2002 to 2007, and served as an Advocate Depute from 2007 to 2010. He has extensive experience of both commercial and public law. He is a member of the Faculty Dispute Resolution Service and was also called to the bar of England & Wales in 2013.

Alison Di Rollo is a Senior Advocate Depute. She joined the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in 1985 as a fiscal. Ms di Rollo then worked in the Policy Group at the Crown Office prior to being appointed Deputy Head of the High Court Unit and later Head of Operational Policy. In May 2008, Ms Di Rollo was seconded from COPFS to take up an appointment as a trial advocate depute. She was appointed as deputy head of the National Sexual Crimes Unit in 2011 and became head of the unit in January 2013.

Notes to editors

The Lord Advocate is a Minister of the Scottish Government and acts as principal legal adviser, but decisions by him about criminal prosecutions and the investigation of deaths are taken independently of any other person. In that way, he is not subject to the ordinary rules about collective ministerial decisions.

The Solicitor General is the Lord Advocate's deputy. She assists the Lord Advocate to carry out his functions. She is also a Minister of the Scottish Government.

More information about the role of Lord Advocate and Solicitor General can be found here:http://www.gov.scot/About/People/Directorates/LPS/glss/glsslsla/RoleLA