The Lord Justice Clerk is the second most senior judge in Scotland, after the Lord President of the Court of Session. The current Lord Justice Clerk is Leeona Dorrian, Lady Dorrian, who was appointed to the position on 13 April 2016.[1] in June 2024 Lady Dorrian has announced her intention to retire from judicial office on 3 February 2025.[2]

Lord Justice Clerk
Lady Dorrian
since 13 April 2016
StyleThe Right Honourable
AppointerMonarch on the advice of the First Minister
Term lengthLife tenure with compulsory retirement at 75
Salary£215,256 (Salary Group 2)



In modern times, most judges appointed as Lord Justice Clerk later become Lord President of the Court of Session.

Originally clericus justiciarie or Clerk to the Court of Justiciary, the counterpart in the criminal courts of the Lord Clerk Register, the status of the office increased over time and the Justice-Clerk came to claim a seat on the Bench by practice and custom. This was recognised by the Privy Council of Scotland in 1663 and the Lord Justice Clerk became the effective head of the reformed High Court of Justiciary in 1672 when the court was reconstituted. The Lord Justice Clerk now rarely presides at criminal trials in the High Court, with most of his or her time being spent dealing with civil and criminal appeals.

The Lord Justice Clerk has the title in both the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary and, as President of the Second Division of the Inner House, is in charge of the Second Division of Judges of the Inner House of the Court of Session. The office is one of the Great Officers of State of Scotland.



See also



  1. ^ McArdle, Helen (13 April 2016). "Scotland appoints first female Lord Justice Clerk". The Herald. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Statement on retirement of Lord Justice Clerk". Law Society of Scotland. Retrieved 26 June 2024.
  3. ^ Alan de Lawedre was Justiciary Clerk "upon the south side of the Water of Forth" and received, in 1374, a pension for same of £10 per annum. Refer: "Early Notices of the Bass Rock and its Owners" by John J. Reid, BA., FSA Scot., in "Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland", 14 December 1885, p. 56.
  4. ^ Reid, 1885, p.58.
  5. ^ Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland by Joseph Bain, F.S.A. Scot, etc., vol.iv 1357–1509, Edinburgh, 1888, no.1564.
  6. ^ Brown, KM. "Act rescinding the forfeiture of Sir George Campbell of Cessnock". The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  7. ^ "No. 15820". The Edinburgh Gazette. 13 June 1941. p. 305.
  8. ^ "No. 16416". The Edinburgh Gazette. 28 February 1947. p. 79.
  9. ^ "No. 16481". The Edinburgh Gazette. 14 October 1947. p. 427.
  10. ^ "No. 18072". The Edinburgh Gazette. 25 September 1962. p. 583.
  11. ^ "No. 19165". The Edinburgh Gazette. 22 December 1972. p. 1157.
  12. ^ a b "Scottish Judicial Appointments" (Press release). 13 November 2001. Archived from the original on 17 January 2004. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Appointment of Lord Justice Clerk" (Press release). The Scottish Government. 15 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Appointment of Lord Justice Clerk". Scottish Courts and Tribunals (Press release). 13 April 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  • For listings to 1637 (may be wanting) refer to The Staggering State of the Scots' Statesmen, by Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet, Director of Chancery, Edinburgh, 1754, p. 183.