Keynote speakers
Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws

Helena Kennedy QCHelena Kennedy practises predominantly in the criminal law, undertaking leading work of all kinds. She also undertakes judicial review, public inquiries and sex discrimination work. She has acted in many of the prominent cases of the last decade including the Brighton Bombing Trial, Guildford Four Appeal, the bombing of the Israeli Embassy, the abduction of Baby Abbie Humphries and a number of key domestic violence cases. She is currently acting in cases connected to the recent wave of terrorism.

She is Chair of the Human Genetics Commission and a member of the World Bank Institute's External Advisory Council and was recently appointed to the board of the British Museum. She stepped down as Chair of the British Council in July 2004 after completing six years. She is a Bencher of Gray's Inn and a Member of the House of Lords, speaking on issues of human rights and civil liberties.

She is Vice-President of the Haldane Society, Vice-President of the Association of Women Barristers and a Patron of Liberty. She chaired the Commission of Inquiry into Violence in Penal Institutions for Young People for the Howard League. The Commission's report Banged Up, Beaten Up, Cutting Up was published in 1995. She chaired the Commission of Inquiry into the health, environmental and safety aspects of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston for Reading Borough Council, the findings published in the report Secrecy Versus Safety1994. In 2004/5, she was Chair of the Inquiry into Sudden Infant Death for the Royal Colleges of Pathologists and of Paediatrics, producing a protocol for the investigation of such deaths. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and a Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute. She is a member of the Foreign Policy Centre's Advisory Council and was the UK member of the International Bar Association's Task Force on Terrorism.

She is President of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and President of the National Children's Bureau. As Commissioner on the National Commission for Education she chaired a committee on widening participation in further education and the Commission's seminal report, Learning Works, was published in 1997.

She has lectured on Human Rights, Criminal Law and many other subjects, both in Britain and internationally. She was the Rose Sheinberg scholar-in-residence at New York University's School of Law in 2003. She delivered the Hamlyn Trust lecture for the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2002. She was a contributor to The Bar on Trial 1982, Child Sexual Abuse Within the Family 1985 and Balancing Acts1989.

A frequent broadcaster and journalist on law and women's rights, her many media contributions and appearances include creating the BBC television series Blind Justice in 1987, presenting the BBC's Heart of the Matter throughout 1987, Raw Deal on Medical Negligence in 1989, The Trial of Lady Chatterley's Loverin 1990, and Time Gentlemen, Please for BBC Scotland - which won The Television Programme Award category of the 1994 Industrial Journalism Awards.

In 1992 she received the Women's Network Award for her work on women and justice and in 1995 added to it the UK Woman of Europe Award. For her work on equal rights she was recognised by the National Federation of Women's Institutes in 1996 who presented her with their Campaigning and Influencing Award - Making a World of Difference. In 1997 The Times gave her their Lifetime Achievement in the Law Award for her work for women and the law, and The Spectator made her Parliamentarian of the Year 2000.

She was awarded a life peerage in 1997. She was created a member of the French Académie Universelle des Cultures by the French government, a Cavalier di Gran Croce (Italy's highest honour) by the President of Italy in 2004, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2005 and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2005.

Her publications include the widely acclaimed Eve Was Framed: Women and British Justice (Vintage, 1993) which has been fully updated and has just been reissued in paperback, March 2005. Her new book Just Law: The Changing Face of Justice and Why It Matters to Us All (Chatto & Windus, 2004) has just been published in paperback, March 2005.

Ash Denham MSP

Ash Denham was appointed Minister for Community Safety in June 2018. Ash was formerly Head of Campaigns and Advocacy for Common Weal Scotland.

She studied International Relations at Keele University in Staffordshire, and Development Management at the Open University.
Ash, who grew up in Biggar and Devon, was elected as MSP for Edinburgh Eastern in May 2016.

Karyn McCluskey

Karyn leads the Community Justice Scotland team and has overall responsibility for raising awareness of the value that community justice brings to individuals and communities. Her aim is to provide leadership in a highly complex sector that covers multiple professional and organisational operating environments. She also ensures that our team supports and challenges our partners by promoting new ways of working that can improve service delivery and create better outcomes for individuals and society.

Karyn spent 21 years working with the police and helped establish the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit in 2005. She is a member of the WHO Violence Prevention Alliance and also helped set up the Medics Against Violence charity in Scotland, which speak to school children about violence reduction, injury and keeping safe.
She has also previously developed a plan to tackle violence for the Metropolitan Police and has published work on Armed Robbery teams, Alcohol and Violence Interventions in a clinical setting and Violence Reduction. In addition, Karyn is a Non-Executive Director at Scottish Professional Football League and a board member of Simon Community Scotland.

Conference chair
Austin Lafferty

Partner, Austin Lafferty Solicitors

Austin is a solicitor, broadcaster, journalist and artist, who has worked in general practice since 1981 and currently runs his own multi-branch firm around Glasgow.

He was elected vice president of the Law Society in May 2011 and took over the presidency in May 2012, and is now a past president of the Society.

Austin has also worked in a variety of media roles, having been a radio and television presenter on numerous programmes. Austin is a newspaper columnist who has written extensively on legal matters. He has also authored It’s The Law!, which is a handbook on Scots Law for citizens, published in 2004. For leisure he is a 4th dan karate black belt, has run marathons, and is a portrait artist (people and pets mainly).

Session Chairs

David Lee is an event host, conference organiser, writer, editor and PR consultant. He worked for daily newspapers for 21 years, latterly as Senior Assistant Editor at The Scotsman before establishing his own business in 2009.

As Director of David Lee Media & Events Ltd, he has organised 100-plus business and public policy conferences and seminars and hosted almost 200 events for a range of public and private sector clients across the UK. He has covered legal affairs for 15 years and has been a judge in the Scottish Legal Awards since 2004.
As well as law, he has a particular interest in fintech, life sciences, forestry and rural affairs, food & drink, education and general public policy.
Away from work, he is a father of four children (and two dogs) and is a passionate coastal rower and an enthusiastic footballer (of declining ability). He spends a lot of time on buses and trains, often leading to Twitter fury @davidleemedia

Journalist and Broadcaster

Speakers and panellists

President 2018-2019, Law Society of Scotland

Alison is the Society’s President and Chair of the Board. Alison was previously Convener of the Client Protection Sub-Committee and she recently retired as Partner at Lindsays. During her time at Lindsays, Alison dealt  with a variety of clients using her natural ability to guide them through complex areas of the law including property and agriculture, business and agricultural relief for large estates, sales of fishings and trusts relating to small business succession and legal rights claims with complicated calculations. She enjoyed helping families, dealing with every generation, and providing expert direction through all of life’s challenges.
Things Alison likes to do when not working - walking, skiing, music particularly opera, reading and travelling.  

Catriona graduated with an LLB (honours) from the University of Glasgow in 2006 and completed the diploma in legal practice at the Glasgow Graduate School of Law the following year. She qualified as a solicitor in 2009 and joined Digby Brown the same year.
Catriona is an Associate solicitor in the Edinburgh office. She specialises in personal injury cases involving road traffic accidents, accidents at work and general accident claims in the Court of Session and Sheriff Court. She has extensive experience of advocacy in the Sheriff Court.
Catriona is a Trustee of SAMH, Scotland's leadling mental health charity and was President of the Scottish Young Lawyers’ Association from 2010-2012. She is also a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Conor Gearty was born in Ireland and graduated in law from University College Dublin before moving to Wolfson College, Cambridge in 1980 to study for a Master’s Degree and then for a PhD. He became a fellow of Emmanuel College Cambridge in 1983 and in 1990 he moved to the school of law at King’s College London where he was first a senior lecturer, then a reader and finally (from 1995) a professor. He was Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights (2002-2009) and is Professor of human rights law in the LSE Law Department. He has published widely on terrorism, civil liberties and human rights. Conor is also a barrister and was a founder member of Matrix chambers from where he continues to practise. He has been a frequent adviser to judges, practitioners and public authorities on the implications of the UK Human Rights Act, and has frequently lectured at home and abroad on the topic of human rights. He has appeared in human rights cases in the House of Lords, the Court of Appeal and the High Court. He has also been a visiting professor at Boston University, the University of Richmond, the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. Conor is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Bencher of Middle Temple and has honorary doctorates from Sacred Heart University in the United States, University College Dublin in Ireland and Brunel and Roehampton universities in the UK. In 2012 he became Director of LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs and in this capacity was responsible for a crowd-sourced UK Constitution, drafted in 2015 and available at His latest book On Fantasy Island. Britain, Europe and Human Rights was published by OUP in September 2016

Vice President, Law Society of England and Wales

Senior Researcher, Bridge Group

Client Executive, Master Policy Practice Management, Lockton Companies LLP

Gail has over 30 years of underwriting experience, evaluating the risks and exposures created by professional firms. Her career began with RSA where she held a variety of positions within their Profin business, culminating in her role as UK Regions ProFin Manager. In 2004 she joined Novae where she was instrumental in establishing their regional PI and D&O business before her move to Zurich in 2007. Her role within Zurich immediately prior to joining Lockton was UK Head of Financial Lines.
At Lockton, her focus is on risk management for the legal profession in Scotland alongside her client responsibilities.  

Rt Hon Henry McLeish began his political career as an elected member in local government in 1974, and was leader of Fife Regional Council for five years. In 1987 he was elected as a member of the UK Parliament and acted as Minister for Devolution and Home Affairs in the Labour government from 1997 to 1999. In the first Scottish Parliament he was Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning from 1999, and in 2000 he became First Minister of Scotland until 2001. Retiring from politics in 2003, he is now an adviser, consultant, writer author and broadcaster and lectures in the USA and elsewhere on the European Union and politics. He chaired the Scottish Prisons Commission, which produced a report into sentencing and the criminal justice system entitled ‘Scotland’s Choice’. In 2010 he conducted a major report on the state of football in Scotland, which had been commissioned by the Scottish Football Association, and chaired a commission into sport requested by the Scottish government. He is now an honorary professor at Edinburgh University.

Vice President 2018-2019, Law Society of Scotland

John is the Society’s Vice President. He joined Council in 2012 and is a member of the Board. John is a criminal law consultant at Falkirk-based Marshall Wilson Law Group, prior to which his private practice work included running his own firm for almost ten years.
He is the former convener of both the Nominations Committee and the Finance Committee and sits on the Appeals and Reviews Sub-Committee.

Partner, Employment and Incentives, Addleshaw Goddard
Kim acts for clients in the logistics, transport and aviation, oil and gas, private equity and regulatory sectors. She specialises in advising on restructuring and reorganisations, Mergers & Acquisitions work, TUPE transfers (acting for Transferors and Transferees), Occupational Health law, troubleshooting relationship issues and resolving disputes either via employment tribunal cases or helping clients find alternative ways of resolving issues through mediation.
Kim provides specialist support and employment law training for all levels of management and is a highly regarded speaker on employment law.
She is committed to delivering her clients’ commercial objectives within an employment law framework. Most recently, Kim led the team acting in the largest equal pay employment tribunal litigation in Scotland involving approximately 8,500 claimants.  In an 18 month period, her team settled £20 million of claims and 2,000 settlement agreements were concluded.

Chief Executive, Law Society of Scotland
Since joining the Society in January 2009 as Chief Executive, Lorna has led the staff team in delivering a program of modernisation.  That program continues with a bolder, more ambitious five year strategy for 2015-2020. Lorna’s role is to drive the implementation of this strategy which aims to lead legal excellence in Scotland and beyond enabling the Law Society to be a world-class professional body.  Lorna is a chartered accountant by profession, and a graduate of Aberdeen University.
Currently, Lorna is also interim chair of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited as well as a Trustee and Treasurer of the McConnell International Foundation.  She is also an independent member of the court of University of Aberdeen and a member of its Governance and Nominations Committee.

Client Executive, Lockton Companies LLP

Special Envoy of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and a roster member of the Crisis Response Unit of UNDP. Alan is also currently serving as Chair of the First Minister of Scotland’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership. Previously he held elected positions of Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Chair of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions. As a former practising lawyer he is a past President of the Glasgow Bar Association and he also continues to teach on the LLM at the University of Strathclyde where he is a member of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law.

Founder, InsideOut

Chief Executive for STOP THE TRAFFIK

Ruth became Chief Executive in May 2008 having participated in its formation in 2005.
With a law degree and background in education, she inspires and enables people to transform the world around them.
Ruth believes that STOP THE TRAFFIK’s working model demonstrates the unique power of bringing people and technology into a harmonious relationship for good for all, imagining a different future where good can prevail.
Ruth was honoured with the award of an OBE in the 2014 British New Year Honours.

Partner, Herbert Smith Falls

Sam has extensive experience in the growing pensions buy out field and in the associated areas of benefit design and liability management, as well as on the pensions aspects of corporate activity. A member of our pensions litigation group, Sam also has particular expertise advising both claimants and defendants on High Court disputes and declaratory proceedings and on matters before the Pensions Ombudsman. Sam is listed in Chambers as one to watch in her field.

Managing Director, Barbri

Delegates in the main conference hall

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