Scotland appoints first female lord advocate

Another bastion of male domination has fallen after a woman was appointed Scotland’s first female lord advocate in the 500-year history of the post.

Elish Angiolini was the first female solicitor general when she was appointed five years ago. She replaces Colin Boyd QC, who resigned on 4 October.

The lord advocate is head of the Scottish judicial system, a member of the Scottish exeutive, and the government’s principal legal adviser. It is roughly equivalent to the attorney general in England.

Angiolini’s nomination by first minister Jack McConnell has been endorsed by the Scottish Parliament and the Queen will now make the formal appointment.

Derek Ogg QC, one of Scotland’s leading criminal advocates, welcomed her appointment.

“I think she has brought everything in her life to her job,” he said. “She hasn’t said, I have to be more macho than the old dinosaurs of the Faculty of Advocates, and has gone her own way quietly,” he told the Guardian. “She has no agenda or chip on her shoulder.”

Mystery surrounds the sudden departure of her predecessor Colin Boyd, whose resignation was announced just nine hours before it was due to take effect.

However, concerns have been raised about the political nature of the appointment, with critics saying the chief prosecutor should not be a member of government because it compromises the independence of the judiciary.

The lord advocate, who commands a £104,000 salary, has overall responsibility for prosecutions in Scotland.

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