What we do

The Office of the Advocate General (OAG) is the UK government's Scottish legal team. We provide legal advice, drafting and litigation services to the UK government in relation to Scotland. We also support the Advocate General in his role as a Law Officer.


We are responsible for:

  • providing legal advice to UK government departments on policy and legislation affecting Scotland and the Scottish devolution settlement
  • representing the UK government in the courts and tribunals in Scotland
  • supporting the Advocate General in his capacity as a UK Law Officer, including the exercise of statutory functions under the Scotland Act


In 2013, our priorities are:

  • advising UK government departments on the implications of their policies for Scotland and working with them to ensure UK legislation works for Scotland
  • reviewing Scottish Parliament legislation and engaging with UK government departments and the Scottish Government to ensure implications of Scottish legislation are understood and competence issues are addressed
  • protecting the UK government’s interests in the Scottish courts and the UK Supreme Court
  • taking forward legal work to support Scotland’s place within the UK, including contributing to the cross-government Scotland analysis programme
  • helping to ensure that devolution works, ensuring that the UK Government operates effectively for Scotland in reserved areas and facilitating co-operation between Scotland’s two administrations
  • ensuring that UK government Ministers achieve their objectives in Scotland, with a focus on support for the Advocate General for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Scotland

Who we are

The Office of the Advocate General consists of around 30 lawyers plus administrative staff, with offices in Victoria Quay, Edinburgh and in Dover House, London.

We have 4 divisions. The Litigation Division provides Scots law advice and support in respect of any action raised by or against a UK government department in Scotland. It also supports the Advocate General in relation to his devolution issue functions under the Scotland Act 1998 and in respect of any action raised or defended in the Scottish Courts. Involvement in Cases

The Advisory and Legislation Division provides legal advice and services to UK government departments, ensuring Scots Law and the devolution settlement are taken into account in the development of UK government policy and legislation.

The HMRC Division deals with HM Revenue & Customs’ legal work in Scotland. This covers tax appeals through the tribunal system and on appeal to the higher courts, as well as a variety of other litigation for the department. The team also provides advisory services to HMRC in relation to Scottish matters, and undertakes some legislative work, notably in connection with the annual Finance Bill.

The Legal Secretariat to the Advocate General provides support to the Advocate General in his capacity as a UK Law Officer, including the exercise of statutory functions under the Scotland Act. It also supports him with his Ministerial responsibilities, including supporting him as a member of Cabinet Committees and as a Member of the House of Lords.

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