Commissioners and staff
The Rt Hon Lady Paton
Lady Paton was appointed as Chair of the Scottish Law Commission with effect from 1 January 2019.
Lady Paton serves as Chair on a part-time basis, for 60% of her time; and otherwise serves as a Senator of the College of Justice for the remaining 40%. Lady Paton is an appeal court judge in Scotland. Having graduated MA LLB in 1974, she became an advocate at the Scottish Bar in 1977, a QC in 1990, a judge in 2000, and an appeal court judge in 2007. She is experienced in both civil and criminal law, and prosecuted crime in the High Court as an advocate-depute (1992-1995). Lady Paton served on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (1995-1999) and the Parole Board (2003-2007). Her publications include Gloag & Henderson, Law of Scotland (8th, 9th and 10th editions) and McEwan & Paton, Damages for Personal Injuries in Scotland (1st and 2nd editions).
David Bartos was appointed a full-time Commissioner in April 2020.
Having graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First Class Degree, he has practised as an Advocate since 1993, having specialised in landlord/tenant, property, insolvency and inheritance disputes. He was a chairperson of the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland from 2011 until his appointment as a Commissioner.
He is a practising arbitrator, being a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators since 2007 having also acted as an arbitral-tribunal appointed expert on commercial leases.
He is co-author of the sixth edition of Bartos and Meston on the Succession (Scotland) Act, has co-authored two editions of Dundas and Bartos on the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 and published articles on property issues and cryptocurrency.
Professor Gillian Black
Professor Gillian Black was appointed a part-time Commissioner in April 2020.
She is Professor of Scots Private Law at the University of Edinburgh, with teaching and research interests principally in family law, contract law, and privacy. She also has a research interest in heraldry, and has published widely across these fields.
Before joining Edinburgh Law School as a Lecturer in 2005, Gillian qualified as a solicitor in 2002 with Shepherd & Wedderburn in Edinburgh, working in their Commercial Contracts division, and then spent 18 months as a teaching assistant in the School of Law at the University of Glasgow. She completed her PhD on publicity rights in Scots law in 2009. She is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow (LLB, DPLP) and Edinburgh (PhD).
Kate Dowdalls QC
Kate Dowdalls QC was appointed a full-time Commissioner in July 2018.
She has been a Member of the Faculty of Advocates since 2000, following 15 years in private practice. She took silk in 2013. Throughout her career she has specialised in family law. She has extensive experience in all aspects of child and family law and has litigated family cases in Sheriff Courts throughout Scotland and in the Court of Session, the Sheriff Appeal Court and UK Supreme Court. She has appeared in cases at the forefront of development of family law, notably in the areas of cohabitation and adoption. Kate is a regular contributor at conferences and seminars on matters of interest and concern to family lawyers.
Professor Frankie McCarthy
Professor Frankie McCarthy was appointed a full-time Commissioner in October 2019.
She is a Professor of Private Law at the University of Glasgow, where she has taught since 2007. Her teaching and research interests are in property law and family law, and she has published widely in relation to both. She was awarded her PhD for a thesis exploring the limits of Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. She is a graduate of the Universities of Edinburgh (LLB, DPLP) and Glasgow (PhD) and was admitted as a Solicitor by the Law Society of Scotland in 2004.
Charles Garland was appointed Interim Chief Executive in June 2021.
He is a solicitor and is on secondment from the Government Legal Service for Scotland. He has worked at the Scottish Law Commission as a Project Manager since 2007, apart from a period of around 2 years from 2016 when he was mainly working as a solicitor at the Scottish Parliament. He has worked on many law reform projects and was involved with the first two SLC bills for which the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee of the Scottish Parliament was the lead Committee. In recent times he, along with fellow Project Managers, was deployed for short periods to assist with secondary legislation required for Brexit. Prior to joining the Commission he had various Scottish Government legal roles, including advising the Scottish Prison Service and working in the legal secretariat to the Advocate General.
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