It was announced on 15th August that Patrick Layden QC will become a Scottish Law Commissioner with effect from 1st September 2008, replacing Professor Gerry Maher QC whose term of office finishes on 31st August 2008.
Professor Maher's time at the Commission has been book-ended by two government references, on poindings and warrant sales and the criminal law references following the collapse of the World's End murder trial. During his tenure Professor Maher has been a lead commissioner on substantial projects on diligence, largely implemented by the Bankruptcy and Diligence etc (Scotland) Act 2007, and criminal law – including the projects on sexual offences ( a bill implementing the Commission report is currently in the Scottish Parliament) and insanity and diminished responsibility.
Mr Layden has had a distinguished career of public service as a legal adviser and draftsman of primary legislation, and worked in the immediate aftermath of devolution as legal secretary to the Lord Advocate .
The government press release announcing Mr Layden's appointment stresses his work in criminal law and criminal justice, no doubt taking into account the current projects of the Scottish Law Commission.