A member of the Faculty of Advocates and a former Deputy First Minister has been chosen as the next Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC is an elder of St Magnus' Cathedral, Kirkwall, and will be the second elder in modern times to become Moderator, after Dr Alison Elliot in 2004.

Brought up in Annan, Dumfriesshire, where his late father was an elder for 64 years, Jim Wallace studied law at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities and became a member of Faculty in 1979, practising mainly in civil law. He took silk in 1997. 

He served as MP for Orkney & Shetland from 1983 until 2001, and MSP for Orkney from 1999 until 2007. Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 1992-2005, he was Deputy First Minister in the Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition and the first Scottish Minister for Justice.

In 2010, he was appointed as Advocate General for Scotland, a post he held for five years. He had been created a life peer in 2007, taking his title from Tankerness, Orkney. 

He will not take an active part in politics while Moderator, a role he takes up next May.

Speaking as his latest appointment was made public, Lord Wallace said: "I went into politics to make a positive difference to society and my motivation is grounded in my Christian faith.

"It is a core belief that if people are to live life in all its fullness as promised by Jesus, this has implications for the kind of society we want to have."

He added that he hoped to use the role to try and promote the theme of justice – social, economic and climate – as the country rebuilds.

"Climate justice is a very real challenge and we have an opportunity, given the UN Climate Summit is scheduled to be held in Scotland next year, for the Church to be a relevant and powerful voice.

"Churches should be at the forefront of campaigning and people will hopefully make the connection that this issue is very relevant to Christians.

"We are the stewards of God’s creation and it is absolutely fundamental that the Church seeks to safeguard its integrity."