Current Council Members

Information about individual Council members can be found below.


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The Rt. Hon. Lord Carloway (Colin John MacLean Sutherland)

Lord President and Lord Justice General

Lord Carloway was appointed Lord President and Lord Justice General in December 2015 having held the position of Lord Justice Clerk and President of the Second Division of the Inner House from August 2012.

He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1977, served as an advocate depute from 1986 to 1989, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990. From 1994 until his appointment as a judge in 2000, he was Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates. 

He edited “Green’s Litigation Styles”, and contributed the chapters on “Court of Session Practice” to the Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia. He led a review of the law and practice in light of the United Kingdom Supreme Court's decision in the case of Cadder v HM Advocate, while his report into criminal law and practice was published in November 2011.

Ex officio members

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Eric McQueen

Chief Executive, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service

Eric was appointed as Chief Executive of the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) on 1 January 2013.  The SCTS supports justice by providing the people, buildings and services needed for the work of Scotland’s courts and tribunals, members of the judiciary, and the Office of the Public Guardian.  The SCTS has over 1400 staff and an annual expenditure of more than £100 million.

Eric joined the SCTS in 2003 as Director for Grampian, Highland and Islands, before being appointed in 2006 as Executive Director Field Services with over-arching responsibility for all operational services throughout the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service.  He has been heavily involved in reforms of the justice system in Scotland in recent years, including unification of summary criminal courts and the wide-ranging changes to summary criminal justice.

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Colin Lancaster

Chief Executive, Scottish Legal Aid Board

Colin Lancaster was appointed Chief Executive of SLAB with effect from 1 September 2015.  Joining SLAB in 1997, he was previously Director of Policy and Development.  His responsibilities as Director focused on improving the availability, quality and cost-effectiveness of publicly funded legal assistance, both civil and criminal.  He was responsible for compliance and solicitor investigations, SLAB's research and management information departments, equalities, the Civil Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) and SLAB's substantial grant funding programme.


Denise Swanson

Scottish Ministers’ appointee

Denise Swanson is a career civil servant who has been with the Scottish Government since 1982. She has held a variety of posts covering matters such as education, children’s hearings, community education and third sector. Denise is currently Interim Deputy Director for Civil Law and Legal System Division in the Scottish Government Justice Directorate. This covers private and family law, gender recognition, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals systems and Access to Justice. 

Denise was previously Head of the Access to Justice Unit in the Justice Directorate which covers areas such as legal aid policy, legal services and regulation of solicitors, advice services and wider access to justice policy.

Judicial members

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The Hon. Lady Carmichael (Ailsa Carmichael KC)

Lady Carmichael was appointed as a Senator of the College of Justice in 2016.  She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and called to the Bar in 1993, taking silk in 2008.  In practice, she specialised in public and administrative law.  She served as standing Junior Counsel to the Home Department between 2000 and 2008.  She acted as counsel to the Fingerprint Inquiry Scotland.  She was appointed as a legal member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland in 2005; a part-time sheriff in 2007; and a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) in 2014.

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The Hon. Lord Ericht (Andrew Stewart)

The Hon Lord Ericht was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Courts in May 2016.
He qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and practised with Clifford Chance and Tods Murray WS before becoming an advocate in 1996. 

He was appointed Standing Junior Counsel to the Department of Trade and Industry from 2000 to 2009 and elected clerk of the Faculty of Advocates from 2003 to 2009. After being appointed as a Queen's Counsel in 2009 he served as an advocate depute until 2013 then returned to independent practice in mainly commercial and public law. 

He held part-time appointments as president of the Scottish Tax Tribunals, visiting lecturer at the Université de Lorraine, France, editor of Session Cases (the official series of Scots law reports), chairman of the ICAS Appeal Tribunal, Senior Decision Maker for the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and member of the Scottish Civil Justice Council. 

In 2017 he was appointed as a judge of the UK Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and a member of the Upper Tribunal for Scotland. In 2020 he was appointed to sit as a Chairman of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal.

He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and a trustee of the LawScot Foundation.

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Sheriff Principal Nigel Ross

Sheriff Principal Ross qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and called to the Bar in December 1991. His practice was mainly in the newly-established Commercial Court in the Court of Session. He was appointed Standing Junior to the Department of Trade and Industry in 1999. In 2003 he was appointed part-time sheriff and as a full-time sheriff in 2006, initially in Glasgow Sheriff Court and from 2013 in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. He was a designated commercial and extradition sheriff, and has sat in the Sheriff Appeal Court since 2017. He was appointed Sheriff Principal of Lothian and Borders in May 2022.


Sheriff George Way

Sheriff Way has been a civil law practitioner since 1978 and served on the Sheriff Court Rules Council from 2006-2009.  He has been a Sheriff in Dundee Sheriff Court for ten years and case manages all Permanence and Adoption processes. 

Sheriff Frances McCartney

Sheriff F McCartney was appointed as a summary sheriff in 2016 and a sheriff in 2018.  Prior to her appointment on the bench she worked in a number of small high street practices, undertaking a variety of civil work including children’s referrals, public and environmental law, commercial and family work.  She is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde and is a co-author of A Practical Guide to Public Law Litigation in Scotland. 

Advocate members

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith KC

Catherine is a practicing advocate who specialises in personal injury, judicial review and clinical negligence cases, with additional experience in criminal law. Once called as an advocate she has had a mixed civil and criminal practice, although it is principally civil now. She holds a strong commitment to pro bono work and has diverse experience both within and beyond the law.



Fiona Drysdale

Fiona Drysdale is an Advocate specialising in reparation, clinical negligence and public inquiries. She was appointed as a Standing Junior to the Scottish Government in 2022. She is an Ad Hoc Advocate Depute and has served as acting Clerk of Faculty, Deputy Clerk of Faculty and Clerk to the Board of Examiners. She is a Faculty Skills Instructor and a Legal Assessor for the General Teaching Council for Scotland. She has considerable experience in public inquiries, catastrophic injury and cases involving children and young people. Before calling to the bar, she worked as a solicitor in a large commercial firm, having trained there in Edinburgh and London. She has also worked as a legal translator for the European Court of Justice. She is described in Chambers UK Bar 2023 as "an experienced and extremely capable advocate with a thorough and practical approach to cases".

Solicitor members

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Iain MacRae

Mr MacRae graduated from the University of Dundee before undertaking a court based traineeship at Munro & Noble, Inverness. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1992 returning to his native Dundee in 1993. He has been a partner of Gilmartin Finlay MacRae since 1995.  On qualifying, his practice was a mix of civil and criminal work but he has concentrated on civil court work since about 2005. Mr MacRae undertakes a mix of private and legally aided cases and covers a broad range of matters from Simple Procedure to the Sheriff Appeal Court. He has been a tutor in Civil Court Practice and Advocacy on the University of Dundee Diploma in Legal Practice course since 1995. He has been a Course leader and lecturer for both this and the Advanced Advocacy Elective Course since 2011.He was appointed as a Legal Member of the Local Taxation Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal on 1 November 2022.

Nicola Irvine

Ms Irvine is the managing partner of Russells Gibson McCaffrey. She has over 20 years’ experience as a litigator in the Sheriff Court undertaking civil and criminal work. In recent years, Nicola has expanded her practice into regulatory work and is regularly instructed by other solicitors in respect of regulatory matters. She is a former Dean of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow. Nicola sits as a legal member in two chambers of the First tier Tribunal for Scotland.

Consumer representative members

Thomas Docherty June 2019

Thomas Docherty

Mr Docherty’s professional background is in press and public relations, in which he has had extensive experience.  He was Member of Parliament for five years from May 2010 to May 2015.

He is currently Head of Public Affairs, Nations and Regions at Which?.  He is responsible for leading on all engagement with key external audiences across the nations and regions of the UK, including establishing new relationships with external stakeholders in Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England.  He leads on work to position Which?  as a key consumer voice across governments and with key political influencers, with a brief to shape national and local government thinking on key consumer issues.  He also acts as primary spokesperson to devolved administrations, engaging directly with Ministers and parliamentary committees.  

Lord President members

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Sheriff Jillian Martin - Brown

Sheriff Martin-Brown was appointed as a sheriff in Dundee in 2019, having served as a summary sheriff since 2016. A graduate of the University of Aberdeen, she was a solicitor in private practice for six years and an advocate for six years. As a solicitor, she represented the Scottish Prison Service at Fatal Accident Inquiries throughout Scotland. At the Bar, she developed particular expertise in the fields of personal injury and medical negligence. She was appointed as Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government and served as an ad-hoc Advocate Depute. As a summary sheriff, she had particular responsibility for the Problem Solving Court in Forfar. She was appointed as a commercial sheriff in 2020.


The Council has nominated a number of observers to attend Council and committee meetings in order to assist in the carrying out of its functions.  In addition to Council members, the following observers attend Council meetings:
Rachel Grant, Head of Legislation Implementation Team, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Chris Fyffe, Deputy Principal Clerk of Session, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service