This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
New part-time sheriffs appointed
The appointment of a further 22 part-time sheriffs was announced today, taking the total number to a record high of 80.
The expansion will allow more scope for full-time sheriffs to take part in in-service training and help ensure the judiciary is adequately resourced to meet a new requirement on sheriffs to provide the chairmanship of Mental Health Tribunals which deal with restricted patients.
The appointments were all recommended by the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said:
"Our reform programme runs through every part of our justice services. At their heart are efficient courts delivering effective sentences. To allow that to happen we need to ensure we have the resources to deal with these reforms and to carry out the court programme.
"Experience shows that more part-time sheriffs can contribute to ensuring that cases are dealt with at the appropriate time. Ministers have responded by agreeing a significant increase in the number of people holding part-time sheriff commissions. The judiciary have welcomed these new appointments
"As well as bringing the number of part-time sheriffs to a record high, we also currently have a record number of full-time sheriffs. More sheriffs, greater investment in the courts and a commitment to further reform - all helping contribute to a safer, stronger Scotland."
The names of those appointed, together with brief biographical notes, are listed below.
- Desmond McCaffrey (64) has been practising law since 1965, and was appointed as a Solicitor Advocate in 2002. He is also an external reporter with the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
- Duncan L Murray (47) was admitted as a solicitor in 1982 and has been a partner with Morton Fraser Solicitors since 2002 specialising in civil litigation and employment law.
- George Jamieson (44) is currently a part-time immigration adjudicator and a consultant with Pattison & Sim. He was admitted as a solicitor in Scotland in 1985 and in England and Wales in 2002.
- Andrew M Mackie (42) is a partner with Andrew Mackie & Co and a legally qualified panel member, chairing Social Security Appeals Tribunals. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1987.
- Gerard W Sinclair (44) admitted as a solicitor in 1985 and is currently the Chief Executive and Principal Solicitor for the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.
- Michael M Wood (51) partner in civil litigation practice Simpson & Marwick since 1981. Admitted as a solicitor in 1979.
- Peter A Grant-Hutchison (49) admitted as a solicitor in 1981 and to the Faculty of Advocates in 1988. He is also a part-time immigration adjudicator.
- David W Hall (48) partner in Hall and Haughey since 1991. Admitted as a solicitor in 1981.
- Valerie Johnston (48) sole practitioner in her own court based practice in Dunfermline since 2004. Admitted as a solicitor in 1983.
- Marysia W Lewis (46) Admitted as a solicitor in 1981, and currently heading the planning and environmental law unit with Ledingham Chalmers.
- Philip Mann (53) an honorary sheriff for the sheriff court district of Elgin. Admitted as a solicitor in 1975 and a senior partner with Stephen & Robb.
- Kenneth J McGowan (48) admitted as a solicitor in 1982 and as a solicitor advocate in 1998. Currently a Chairman for the Employment Tribunal.
- Kenneth R Robb (53) member of the Panel for Disciplinary Proceedings and the Immigration Appellate Authority. Admitted as a solicitor in 1978.
- Jamie Gilchrist (46) admitted as a solicitor in 1985 and to the Faculty of Advocates in 1994. Served as Advocate Depute 1998 - 2001.
- Linda S White (48) partner with Hill & Robb and Chairperson/Board member of Family Mediation Central. Admitted as a solicitor in October 1979.
- Fiona Tait (40) admitted as a solicitor in 1991 and is Head of the Family Law team with Drummond Miller. She is also a member of the Practising Certificate Committee.
- Thomas Ward (53) temporary sheriff from 1991 to 2000. A part-time Chairman with CICAP and a part-time Immigration Adjudicator. Admitted as a solicitor in 1977 and as a solicitor advocate in 1995.
- Margaret M Neilson (48) part-time Chairman of Tribunals (The Appeals Service). Admitted as a solicitor in December 1984.
- James M Hendry (47) court partner with Macleod's WS Inverness. Admitted as a solicitor in 1981.
- David L Stewart (64) admitted as solicitor in 1971 currently with Morton Fraser. Also a part-time Chairman with the Employment Tribunals.
- Gerard P Macmillan (48) partner with Macmillans solicitors in Glasgow. Admitted as a solicitor in August 1985.
- Mark L Stewart (48) Admitted as a solicitor in 1984 and to the Faculty of Advocates in 1988. Practises criminal defence work in the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Sheriff Courts.
Part-time sheriffs were first appointed in the year 2000. They help to maintain the programme of business in the courts when full-time sheriffs are unavailable due to annual leave, sick leave and attendance at training. Part-timers may also assist when the court programme experiences a sharp increase in business which the full-time sheriffs cannot handle without assistance. Most part-time sheriffs have other jobs as advocates or solicitors and they contribute on average about 40 days a year as part-time sheriffs. Some may offer more service than that, according to their own circumstances.
All the new appointees were recommended by the Judicial Appointments Board at their last open competition for part-time posts. The qualifications required of part-time sheriffs are the same as those for full-time sheriffs. In 2000 the statutory maximum number of part-time sheriffs was fixed at 60. Experience over the last five years has shown this number to be inadequate for current purposes and Parliament recently approved an Order on 9 May, brought forward by the Justice Minister, which increases the statutory maximum to 80. Amongst the considerations leading to an increase were the need to provide more scope for full-time sheriffs to take time off for in-service training and a new requirement on sheriffs to provide the chairmanship of Mental Health Tribunals which deal with restricted patients.
There are 140 permanent sheriffs who serve in Scotland's 49 sheriff courts. T o help ensure continuity of business in the sheriff courts, Ministers have powers to appoint part-time sheriffs who can keep business moving when permanent sheriffs are unavailable because they are on annual leave, sick leave or otherwise engaged on training courses or participating in other activities, such as the Parole Board or service on specialist committees or groups.