Richard Keen QC was appointed Advocate General for Scotland in May 2015. He also became the spokesperson for Ministry of Justice business in the House of Lords in July 2016.
Richard attended The King’s School, Rochester and Dollar Academy, before going on to study law at the University of Edinburgh.
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 1 January 2014.
Richard remained as chairman until his appointment as Advocate General for Scotland in May 2015 when he subsequently resigned.
Richard served as the Lords Spokesperson for the Home Office from April until July 2016.
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.
Richard lives in Edinburgh and is married with two children, a son and a daughter.
HM Advocate General for Scotland and MoJ spokesperson for the Lords
Advocate General for Scotland
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.
MoJ spokesperson for the Lords
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesperson for the Lords is responsible for all departmental business in the Lords. He also advises the Secretary of State for Justice on the following policy areas:
- civil justice (including discount rate and whiplash)
- legal services
- Global Britain
- relationship with the legal profession
- claims management regulation
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