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 Lord Keen of Elie QC

Richard Keen QC was appointed Advocate General for Scotland in May 2015.

Education

Richard attended The King’s School, Rochester and Dollar Academy, before going on to study law at the University of Edinburgh.

Political experience

In November 2013 it was announced that Richard would be appointed as the new chairman of the Scottish Conservative party, succeeding David Mundell MP in this role on January 1st 2014. Richard remained as chairman until his appointment as Advocate General for Scotland in May 2015 when he subsequently resigned.

Career outside politics

After being admitted to the Faculty Richard was a Standing junior counsel to the DTI in Scotland from 1986-1993, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1993. He has served as Chairman of the Appeal Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (2000-2004) and as Chairman of the Police Appeals Tribunal. Richard has been regularly instructed in the Commercial Court; in the Inner House (the Court of Appeal in Scotland) and in the UK Supreme Court in a range of Commercial and Public Law cases. Richard was elected as Dean of the Faculty of Advocates [leader of the Scottish Bar] in 2007 and served as Dean until 2014.

He became a member of the Bar of England and Wales in 2009, and was elected a Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, in 2011.

Personal life

Richard lives in Edinburgh and is married with two children, a son and a daughter.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC

    • 2010 to 2015

Announcements

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  1. Lord Keen of Elie QC sworn in as Advocate General for Scotland

    • 17 June 2015
    • News story
  2. The Changing Role of Regulation and Scrutiny in Scotland

    • 1 April 2015
    • Speech
  3. Keynote Address - SOLAR Conference

    • 1 April 2015
    • Speech
  4. Ten Years of FOISA

    • 19 December 2014
    • Speech
  5. The Smith Commission

    • 27 November 2014
    • Statement to Parliament
  6. Set in stone - Lest we forget

    • 26 November 2014
    • News story
  7. Address by Lord Wallace QC at the Glasgow Clyde College Graduation Ceremony

    • 13 November 2014
    • Speech
  8. Shetland islands welcome superfast broadband

    • 15 October 2014
    • News story
  9. Speech to the Iraqi-British Business Council (IBBC)

    • 3 June 2014
    • Speech
  10. Welcome To Edinburgh

    • 9 May 2014
    • Speech