Court of Session and High Court judge Lady Dorrian has been appointed Lord Justice Clerk, the second most senior judge in Scotland.

The appointment, by the Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister, following the report of a specially convened independent panel which was considering the appointment, means that Lady Dorrian becomes the first woman to hold one of the two senior judicial posts in Scotland.

She succeeds Lord Carloway, who was recently appointed as the Lord President.

A graduate of Aberdeen University, Leeona Dorrian was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1981. She served as standing junior counsel to the Health & Safety Executive and Commission and to the Department of Energy, and as an advocate depute, before being appointed Queen's Counsel in 1994. Between 1997 and 2001 she was a member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. She was appointed to the bench in 2005, having served as a temporary judge since 2002, and appointed to the Inner House in November 2012.

As Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian will preside over the Second Division of the Inner House. She also becomes chair of the Scottish Sentencing Council, a Commissioner for the Honours of Scotland, and Senior Commissioner of the Queen Victoria School in Dunblane. 

Lady Dorrian will take up her appointment on 26 April, the day of her installation.

Welcoming the announcement, James Wolffe QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said: “I am very pleased indeed to congratulate Lady Dorrian on her appointment as Lord Justice Clerk. Her broad experience, as an advocate and as a judge, equip her to serve Scotland well in this office at this time – when the legal system must continue to deliver justice while responding effectively to technological and social change.”

Christine McLintock, President of the Law Society of Scotland added: “I’d like to offer my warm congratulations to Lady Dorrian on her appointment. As one of our most senior and highly regarded judges with a wealth of experience in criminal law, she has already made a substantial contribution to Scotland’s justice system.

“The appointment of the first female Lord Justice Clerk is a significant step forward for equality and diversity within the judiciary, a wonderful role model for women in the legal profession."