Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal
Patricia Janet, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, PC, QC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (born 19 August 1955) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

, and served in many ministerial positions within the UK Government, most notably as the Attorney General for England and Wales
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 and Advocate General for Northern Ireland
Advocate General for Northern Ireland
The Advocate General for Northern Ireland is the chief legal adviser to the UK Government on Northern Ireland law and the post is held by the Attorney General for England and Wales by virtue of that office...


Early life and career

Baroness Scotland was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica
Dominica , officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its size is and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of . The Commonwealth...

 as the tenth child of twelve. Her family moved to Walthamstow
Walthamstow is a district of northeast London, England, located in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is situated north-east of Charing Cross...

 when she was two years old. She attended the Walthamstow School for Girls
Walthamstow School for Girls
Walthamstow School for Girls is a single sex girls' secondary school situated in Walthamstow, east London, England. It currently educates 900 girls between the ages of 11-16. The school holds specialist Mathematics and Computing College status....

. She is a Roman Catholic. She was educated at Mid Essex Technical College
Anglia Ruskin University
Anglia Ruskin University is one of the largest universities in Eastern England, United Kingdom, with a total student population of around 30,000.-History:...

 in Chelmsford where she pursued a London University (LLB) law degree in 1976 (in association with University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

). She was called to the bar
Bar association
A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both...

 at the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn...

 in 1977, specialising in family and children's law. Baroness Scotland made history in 1991 by becoming the first black woman to be appointed a Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

. She later founded 1 Gray's Inn Square barristers chambers. Early in 1997 she was elected as a Bencher
A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court in England and Wales. Benchers hold office for life once elected. A bencher can be elected while still a barrister , in recognition of the contribution that the barrister has made to the life of the Inn or to the law...

 of the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn...

. Scotland was named as a Millennium Commissioner on 17 February 1994, and was a member of the Commission for Racial Equality
Commission for Racial Equality
The Commission for Racial Equality was a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom which aimed to tackle racial discrimination and promote racial equality. Its work has been merged into the new Equality and Human Rights Commission.-History:...

. She received a life peerage on a Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 list of working peers in 1997.

Government Posts

From 1999 to 2001 Baroness Scotland was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

 where she was inter alia, responsible for the UK Government's diplomatic relations with North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, Overseas Territories, Consular Division, British Council
British Council
The British Council is a United Kingdom-based organisation specialising in international educational and cultural opportunities. It is registered as a charity both in England and Wales, and in Scotland...

, administration and all Parliamentary business in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. Baroness Scotland notably introduced the International Criminal Court Bill
International Criminal Court Act 2001
The International Criminal Court Act is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act implements into the law of England, Wales and Northern Ireland the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.The principal aims of the Act are:...

 which sought to ratify the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

 into UK law. She established the Pro Bono Lawyers Panel, a panel of British-based lawyers who provided legal advice on a pro bono
Pro bono
Pro bono publico is a Latin phrase generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms...

basis to United Kingdom nationals imprisoned in foreign countries. She created an Overseas Territories Council for the Caribbean and reformed and restructured the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Division to be able to respond more effectively to emergencies and disasters abroad such as the September 11 attacks.

In 2001 she became Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department
Lord Chancellor's Department
The Lord Chancellor's Department was a United Kingdom government department answerable to the Lord Chancellor with jurisdiction over England and Wales....

, and was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

. She was the Minister responsible for civil justice and the reform of civil law including the comprehensive reform of land registration leading to the Land Registration Act 2002
Land Registration Act 2002
The Land Registration Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which repealed and replaced previous legislation governing land registration, in particular the Land Registration Act 1925, which governed an earlier, though similar, system...

. She was also responsible for international affairs at the Lord Chancellor’s Department and was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 as the UK Alternate Representative to the European Convention and was given primary responsibility for the negotiations in relation to the Charter of Rights which were successfully concluded in 2003. During this period she consolidated the strong relations created with all the applicant countries through the FAHR programme and the Member States and was subsequently awarded the Polish Medal for her contribution to the reform and development of Law in Poland.

Baroness Scotland was a contender for a cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 position in 2003, when Prime Minister Blair reportedly considered appointing her Leader of the House of Lords
Leader of the House of Lords
The Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council,...


In 2003 Baroness Scotland was made Minister of State
Minister of State
Minister of State is a title borne by politicians or officials in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a "minister of state" is a junior minister, who is assigned to assist a specific cabinet minister...

 for the Criminal Justice system and Law Reform at the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 and deputy to the Home Secretary. She served in that post until 2007 under three Home Secretaries: David Blunkett
David Blunkett
David Blunkett is a British Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, having represented Sheffield Brightside from 1987 to 2010...

, Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke
Charles Rodway Clarke is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Norwich South from 1997 until 2010, and served as Home Secretary from December 2004 until May 2006.-Early life:...

 and John Reid. Whilst at the Home Office she was responsible for major reform of the criminal justice system. She created the Office of Criminal Justice Reform which helped to create and support the National Criminal Justice Board and the Local Criminal Justice Board. Having acted as Chair, she then created three Alliances to reduce re-offending (Corporate, Civic and Faith based Alliance) and the Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence. She created an advisory group on victims and the Criminal Justice Centre, Victims and Witness units.

Baroness Scotland created Inside Justice Week and the Justice Awards. She introduced the Crime and Victims Act which created new offence of familial homicide which was successfully used to prosecute the killers of Baby P who would otherwise have escaped responsibility for his death. By 2009, domestic violence in the UK had been reduced by 64%. The domestic violence homicide rate had been significantly reduced and crime was at its lowest since 1991.

Baroness Scotland continued her responsibility for international affairs at the Home Office and continued to represent the UK in a number of difficult and challenging international negotiations such as those relating to extradition.

In 2004 Baroness Scotland was considered to be a possible candidate to become a Commissioner of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...


Attorney General

On 28 June 2007 Baroness Scotland was appointed Attorney General by Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

. She was the first woman to hold the office since its foundation in 1315. As Attorney General she was the Chief legal adviser to: Her Majesty the Queen, Parliament and the Government, Supervisor and Superintendent of the Prosecutorial Authorities (SFO,CPS, RCPO), Leader of the Bar and had non-statutory oversight of the prosecutors in government departments, the Treasury Solicitors Department and armed services prosecuting authority. She was Guardian of the Rule of Law and Public Interest. She was one of the three Cabinet Ministers responsible for the Criminal Justice system and had specific responsibility for fraud policy and the National Fraud Authority and chaired the Inter-Ministerial Group responsible for the improvement of the response to fraud and e-crime.

She was instrumental in creating the Quintet which brought together the Attorneys General of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to consider issues of joint legal and systemic concern. During her time as Attorney General, Baroness Scotland continued to promote pro bono
Pro bono
Pro bono publico is a Latin phrase generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms...

 work by lawyers and created an international and Schools Pro Bono Committee which was responsible for co-ordinating pro bono work. She created the Pro Bono Awards and Pro Bono Heroes. She also created an Attorney General's Youth Network. to help children better understand the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...


She was the last Attorney General for England and Wales also to be the Attorney General for Northern Ireland before the devolution of justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive...

, and the appointment of a separate Attorney General for Northern Ireland.

When Labour left government on 11 May 2010, Baroness Scotland became the Shadow Attorney General and was reappointed to that role by Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband
Edward Samuel Miliband is a British Labour Party politician, currently the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition...

 when he appointed his first Shadow Cabinet in October 2010.

Charitable work

Baroness Scotland is the Patron of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence. She is the joint Patron of Missio, a charity which is the Catholic Church’s official support organisation for overseas mission.


Baroness Scotland has been voted Peer of the Year by Channel 4, the House Magazine, Parliamentarian of the Year by the Spectator and the Political Studies Association, and received a number of other awards for her contribution to law reform in the UK and abroad.

Baroness Scotland was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of East London
University of East London
The University of East London is a university located in the London Borough of Newham, East London, England, based at two campuses in Stratford and Docklands areas...

 in 2005. She was voted one of the 100 Great Black Britons.

Baroness Scotland was decreed and invested by Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro
Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro
Prince Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro is one of two claimants to the headship of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.-Early life and education:...

, as a Dame of Merit with Star of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George in 2003.

Public speaking

In January 2010 Baroness Scotland gave the keynote address to the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

 as part of the Lionel Cohen
Lionel Cohen, Baron Cohen
Lionel Leonard Cohen, Baron Cohen PC , was a British judge.Invested to the privy council in 1946, Cohen was Lord Justice of Appeal from 1946 to 1951. On 12 November 1951, he was appointed Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and made additionally a life peer with the title Baron Cohen, of Walmer in the...

 lecture series. In September 2009 she gave the keynote speech of the 9th Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager from Eltham, southeast London, who was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus on the evening of 22 April 1993....

 Memorial Lecture. In July 2009 she gave the keynote speech to the CPS
-Australia:*Corporate Protective Services, Sydney based GPS monitoring company*Chatswood Public School, a school in Sydney-Bangladesh:*Criminology and Police Science, CPS is a discipline studied by the department at Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University in Tangail, Bangladesh. Md...

 Community Conference. In May 2009 Baroness Scotland gave the keynote speech at the Law Society of Scotland
Law Society of Scotland
The Law Society of Scotland is the professional governing body for Scottish solicitors.It promotes excellence among solicitors through representation, support and regulation of its members. It also promotes the interests of the public in relation to the profession...

 Conference. In February 2009 she gave the Magna-Carter speech to Parliament House
Parliament House, Canberra
Parliament House is the meeting facility of the Parliament of Australia located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. The building was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects and opened on 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia...

 in Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

, Australia. In May 2008 she delivered the keynote speech at the National Mentoring Consortium.

Baroness Scotland has given speeches to the Professional Organisation for Women in Antigua and Barbuda, the Association of Turkish Women in Britain, the Peace Alliance, the Local Government Conference, the Black Solicitors' Network, and the University of Sussex
University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is an English public research university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. The University received its Royal Charter in August 1961....


NatWest Three

A new extradition treaty with the United States of America had been signed on 31 March 2003. Baroness Scotland had the responsibility for promoting the necessary legislation in the House of Lords. The "NatWest Three
NatWest Three
The NatWest Three, also known as the Enron Three, are three British businessmen - Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew. In 2002 they were indicted in Houston, Texas on seven counts of wire fraud against their former employer Greenwich NatWest, at the time a division of National...

" extradition case made use of this treaty. The three men were British citizens, living in the UK and working for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, a British bank. On 12 July 2006, in a highly unusual move, the Speaker of the House, Michael Martin
Michael Martin (politician)
Michael John Martin, Baron Martin of Springburn, PC is a British politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Springburn from 1979 to 2005, and then for Glasgow North East until 2009...

, allowed an emergency debate on both the treaty and the NatWest Three after a request by Liberal Democrat frontbencher
In many parliaments and other similar assemblies, seating is typically arranged in banks or rows, with each political party or caucus grouped together. The spokespeople for each group will often sit at the front of their group, and are then known as being on the frontbench and are described as...

 Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg
Nicholas William Peter "Nick" Clegg is a British Liberal Democrat politician who is currently the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council and Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform in the coalition government of which David Cameron is the Prime Minister...


During the debate, Baroness Scotland's view in 2005 that a higher threshold to establish "probable cause" was required by the UK to extradite from the US than vice versa was contrasted by Clegg to comments which the Prime Minister had made in July 2006, in which he stated that the evidential burdens on the two countries were the same. The 'NatWest Three' were subsequently extradited, and accepted a plea bargain
Plea bargain
A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case whereby the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter than the maximum sentence.A plea bargain allows criminal defendants to...

 arrangement under which they pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in the United States.

Illegal immigrant employment controversy

In 2009 the UK Border Agency
UK Border Agency
The UK Border Agency is the border control body of the United Kingdom government and part of the Home Office. It was formed on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency , UKvisas and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs...

 conducted an investigation into allegations that Baroness Scotland was employing an illegal immigrant. Baroness Scotland was fined £5,000 for a breach of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006
Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006
The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.It is the fifth major piece of legislation relating to immigration and asylum since 1993.-Commencement Orders:...

 for failing to retain photocopies of Loloahi Tapui's passport. Tapui was later jailed for eight months for fraud, possessing a false identity stamp, and overstaying her UK visa.

Personal life

Baroness Scotland resides in London and in Asthal, the Oxfordshire village, where she and her barrister husband live with their two sons.

External links

Offices held

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.