The First Minister announced on 5 October 2006 that he would be nominating the Solicitor General for Scotland, Elish Angiolini QC, to succeed Lord Boyd as Lord Advocate following his sudden resignation on 4 October. Ms Angiolini will become the first female Lord Advocate – another crack in the glass ceiling of Scots law – as well as the first non-advocate to hold the position in many centuries. Some critics questioned whether Ms Angiolini’s professional background as a lawyer in the Crown Office and her close links with the Scottish Executive meant that she lacked the necessary independence of government; a criticism to which she responded with robust independence.
On 6 October it was announced that John Beckett QC, currently Home Advocate Depute, would be nominated as the next Solicitor General. According to his page on the Faculty website http://www.advocates.org.uk/stables/advocates/00000028.html his expertise is primarily in criminal law, child law and human rights.
A South African correspondent (Professor Jacques du Plessis) has drawn our attention to a speech by Lord Boyd on 30 September, on the occasion of his signing Scotland into full membership of the Academy of European Law (ERA). In this speech, Lord Boyd said the following:
The UK is already a member of ERA, but this move recognises Scotland as a unique and distinctive jurisdiction in Europe. Modern Scottish law is founded on the principles of Roman Dutch law, but has also been deeply influenced by English common law. We hope that this unique perspective means that we bring something of value to the knowledge and understanding of European law.
Scots Law News trusts that this European-ism does not offer another reason for Lord Boyd’s departure.