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New Dean of Faculty announced

News / date posted 04/02/2014

New Dean of Faculty announced

James Wolffe, QC, has been elected the new Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in an historic ballot.

Mr Wolffe saw off the challenge of fellow QCs, Gordon Jackson, Andrew Smith and Alan Summers, to become leader of the 466-strong practising Scottish Bar.

For the first time in the Faculty's near 500-year history, the election was by online voting.

Mr Wolffe said: "It is a great honour to be elected by the Faculty as its Dean. The people of Scotland have been well served by the independent Bar throughout its existence. I look forward to leading the profession during the next chapter of its history."

Mr Wolffe is the current Vice-Dean of Faculty. He has been at the Bar since 1992 and became a QC in 2007. He served three years as a High Court prosecutor, and has extensive experience in civil law, particularly in commercial and public law. He has appeared before the House of Lords, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and the UK Supreme Court. He is head of the UK delegation to the Council of European Bars and Law Societies.

He succeeds Richard Keen, QC, to become the 20th Dean of Faculty since the Second World War. Mr Keen, who will continue in practice as a QC, stepped down to become part-time chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party.

His six years in the post had been the longest in more than 50 years, since John Cameron, KC, (Lord "Jock" Cameron) served as Dean from 1948 to 1955.

The decision to have an electronic election followed a successful trial of a system designed by the Faculty's IT department. The system was used to pick a member of the Faculty Council, and 117 members voted, some 44 per cent of the 265 entitled to vote.

The number was significantly greater than in the two previous similar elections which had been held under traditional voting arrangements.

Voting for the new Dean was open to around 700 practising and non-practising members of Faculty.

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