Sunday, 3 October 2010
A Woman of Substance
She was the first solicitor to be Scotland's Lord Advocate, the first to serve in cabinets of different political parties and the first woman to become Scotland's most senior law officer. She is Elish Angiolini.
This week Ms Angiolini announced she is to stand down next May after serving a five-year tenure. The decision of Jack McConnell to appoint here provoked outrage in some corners of the Faculty of Advocates because she was female, a Catholic and, worst of all, a solicitor. When the SNP won the 2007 election Alex Salmond decided to retain her because he recognised her talent.
What she brought to the position was not just a superb mind, but a full appreciation of the real world to which the law must be applied. It was her reappraisal of how the law deals with sex crime which will stick in my mind. Her commitment to seeing women being treated equally by the courts and in the judiciary will be a lasting legacy of her role as Lord Advocate.
She will certainly be a hard act to follow.