Our Advocates

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Rt. Hon. Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC

Rt. Hon. Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC


Professional Information:

Year of Call: 2008
Year of Silk: 2001


The Right Honourable Dame Elish Angiolini QC made history in 2001 when she became the first woman, the first solicitor and the first Procurator Fiscal to be appointed as the Solicitor General for Scotland. She created another piece of history when she became the first solicitor to be appointed Queen's Counsel. In 2006 Dame Elish  became the first woman in 500 years to be appointed as Lord Advocate, Scotland's senior Law Officer and she created another legal first in 2008 when she  and Frank Mulholland QC, the then Solicitor General were admitted  as members of the Faculty of Advocates.

As one of Scotland's most senior lawyers, Dame Elish has over 28 years extensive experience of public administrative, criminal and civil law as well as Public Inquiries and Fatal Accident Inquiries. Following a highly successful career as a public Prosecutor with particular experience of trials and debates, she has appeared as a Law Officer in some of the most significant and serious appeals and trials in Scotland in recent years as well as before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and the Supreme Court.

As the Scottish Government's chief legal advisor on civil matters she has advised on the full range of public administrative and constitutional law, litigation and legislation. The first Lord Advocate to serve two different Governments, she provided legal advice to Government over 10 years on a wide range of issues, including enterprise, transport, health, planning, local government, contract, procurement , state aids, planning, the environment, EU Law, ECHR  and International treaties.

In her role as the Head of the Systems for Prosecution and deaths investigation she has developed a very substantial knowledge of medical and other professional negligence, disciplinary tribunals, regulatory crime and enforcement of Health and Safety law.

She was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire in May 2011 for services to the administration of Justice and in June 2011 in Seoul, Korea , she received the Special Achievement Award from the International Association of Prosecutors in recognition of her achievements in the field of Criminal Justice both nationally in Scotland and internationally.

In June 2011 she was appointed as Chair of a new Commission set up to examine the issue of how female offenders are dealt with in the Criminal Justice System. Dame Elish has recently been appointed as visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde where she will develop a Masters course in Advocacy studies, the first of its kind in the UK.

In February 2012  Dame Elish was elected Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford, taking up the post in September 2012.

Dame Elish has a broad civil practice with particular emphasis on public administrative law and professional negligence.

Publications and Lectures:

As Solicitor General and Lord Advocate Dame Elish has given numerous lectures which include:

  • Legislation, Litigation and Prosecution: the role of a Scottish Law Officer 2003 Jur Rev 220
  • The Edinburgh Lecture, 26 January 2003
  • Judicial Review , Law Society of Scotland, 5 November 2002
  • Independence with Accountability, Franco British Lawyers Society, 28 November 2004
  • KPMG Lecture - The Lord Advocate in the 21st Century, 28 February 2007
  • Address to the Prosecutors of France, French Senate, Paris, October 2007
  • The Child's Voice in the Judicial System, Children First, February 2011
  • International Book Festival : The Donald Dewar Lecture, 26 August 2011


  • Regional Procurator Fiscal, Grampian ,Highlands and Islands, 2000
  • Solicitor General for Scotland, 2001-2006
  • Commissioner of the Northern Lighthouse Board, 2001-2011
  • Lord Advocate, 2006-2011
  • Privy Councillor, 2006
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws:-
    Glasgow Caledonian University, 2005
    University of Strathclyde, 2007
    University of Aberdeen, 2007
  • Honorary Professor of Laws, University of Aberdeen, 2011
  • Visiting Professor of Laws, University of Strathclyde, 2011
  • Chair, Commission of Inquiry to Improve Outcomes for Women Offenders, 2011
  • Elected Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford, 2012

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