Ministerial role

HM Advocate General for Scotland

Responsibilities

The Advocate General for Scotland is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, who advise the government on Scots law.

Schedule 6 to the Scotland Act requires that the Advocate General be provided with notice of all ‘devolution issues’ raised before courts or tribunals in Scotland. Devolution issues include challenges to the legislative competence of an Act of the Scottish Parliament and to whether a member of the Scottish government has complied with the EU Convention on Human Rights or EU Community law

The Advocate General can choose intervene, on behalf of the UK government, in proceedings in which devolution issues have been raised if he so decides.

The Office of the Advocate General considers all Scottish Parliament Bills as they progress, in consultation with interested UK government departments, to assess their legislative competency. Under section 33 of the Scotland Act, the Advocate General has the power to refer Scottish Parliament Bills to the Supreme Court for decisions on their legislative competence.

Current role holder: The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC

Lord Wallace was appointed Advocate General for Scotland in May 2010. He was made Deputy Leader of the House of Lords in October 2013. He is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and is the Scotland Office and the Attorney General’s office official spokesperson in the House of Lords.

Education

He studied law at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities.

Political career

Lord Wallace was appointed a Privy Councillor in 2000 and in 2007 he was appointed to the House of Lords. He has been a member of the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Constitution and the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution. Lord Wallace’s political career includes:

  • MP for Orkney & Shetland 1983 to 2001
  • MSP for Orkney 1999 to 2007
  • Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats 1992 to 2005
  • Deputy First Minister of Scotland 1999 to 2005
  • Minister for Justice 1999 to 2003
  • Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning 2003 to 2005

Career outside politics

Lord Wallace was called to the bar in 1979, practising mainly in civil law cases. He took silk in 1997.

Policies

under the responsibility of The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC as HM Advocate General for Scotland

  1. Informing the debate on Scotland's constitutional future

    • 17 January 2014
  2. Maintaining and strengthening the Scottish devolution settlement

    • 16 October 2013
  3. Facilitating a legal, fair and decisive referendum in Scotland

    • 19 February 2013

Announcements

by HM Advocate General for Scotland

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  1. Holyrood could devolve more powers now

    • 14 March 2014
    • News story
  2. Lockerbie remembered

    • 21 December 2013
    • News story
  3. Constitutional issues in the referendum debate

    • 5 December 2013
    • Speech
  4. White paper must 'own up' to the uncertainties of independence

    • 22 November 2013
    • News story
  5. Scottish referendum: Business must be part of the debate

    • 21 November 2013
    • News story
  6. The UK Government and the Islands - Working Together

    • 31 October 2013
    • Speech
  7. Discussion on Scotland's Constitutional Future.

    • 10 June 2013
    • Speech
  8. The role of lawyers in public life

    • 10 June 2013
    • Speech
  9. Plan For Growth

    • 10 June 2013
    • Speech
  10. Scrutiny improvement and better regulation: What next for service providers, markets and consumers?

    • 10 June 2013
    • Speech

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