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by Jack Thomson
22 June 2021
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain says she will act 'independently' after being sworn in

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC (right) and Solicitor General Ruth Charteris QC (left) Picture: Alamy

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain says she will act 'independently' after being sworn in

Scotland's new lord advocate has said she will act "independently" after she was sworn in as the country's most senior law officer at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Dorothy Bain QC and Solicitor General for Scotland Ruther Charteris QC were approved by the Scottish Parliament last week and received their royal warrants from the Queen on Friday.

This is the first time both law officer positions have been held simultaneously by women.

Bain, who replaces James Wolffe QC, said she was "privileged" to take on the role as head of the systems for the prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths in Scotland.

The job has been placed under the microscope recently over its dual nature – heading the prosecution service as well as serving as the Scottish Government's principal legal adviser. Calls have been made for the responsibilities to be split.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, which was presided over by Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Carloway, the lord advocate made a statement.

She said: "It is a great honour to be Scotland’s lord advocate and I am privileged to be head of the systems for the prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths in Scotland.

"These are duties I, and those who work on my behalf, will discharge independently of any other person.

"I am delighted to be joined as a law officer by Ruth Charteris QC. I am fortunate to have such a talented lawyer serving as Solicitor General for Scotland. Interest in the roles and work of the law officers has never been higher and the First Minister has committed to a review of the functions of lord advocate. I will give that review all appropriate assistance.

"The trust placed in public prosecutors is the most significant that a society can bestow. I do not carry that responsibility lightly and promise to pursue this vital public service to the utmost of my abilities.

"I have been privileged to serve as Crown Counsel, prosecuting in the public interest, for many years. In that time, working alongside many other dedicated and talented lawyers, I concluded some of the most serious cases to come before the Scottish courts.

"Through this experience, I have learned that people who find themselves a victim or witness to crime can find it to be a bewildering experience. I have seen first-hand the toll that can take. Their existence becomes transformed by the acts of another, and they are entitled to feel a whole range of emotions.

"I know there is no right or wrong way they should feel – but I also know there is a correct way they should be treated. On behalf of Scotland’s prosecutors, I pledge that we shall treat people with integrity, professionalism, and respect."

She also said the serious cases she has been involved in have given her an "unshakeable belief" in the importance of public service prosecutors in delivering justice and giving victims a voice in court, as well as protecting the rights of the accused.

Bain vowed to lead Scotland’s prosecutors as they work with the legal profession, courts service and judiciary to "create a modern, responsive system fit to serve the people of Scotland for generations to come."

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