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).
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.
Caroline Drummond was appointed a full-time Commissioner in February 2015.
She was a partner in Burness Paull LLP for 27 years, specialising in property law, and representing a broad spectrum of clients from both the public and private sectors. She sat on the Scottish Property Federation policy board, and is a recognised expert in the field of commercial property.
David Johnston QC
David Johnston was appointed a part-time Commissioner in January 2015.
Mr Johnston practises at the Scottish Bar, where he specialises in public and commercial law. He was appointed a QC in 2005. From 1993-99 he was Regius Professor of Civil Law at the University of Cambridge. He is an honorary professor at Edinburgh Law School, appointed in 2000. His publications include Prescription and Limitation (2nd edition, 2012) and other books and articles on Roman law, Scots law and legal history.
Dr Frankie McCarthy
Dr Frankie McCarthy was appointed a full-time Commissioner in October 2019.
She is a Senior Lecturer in 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.
Malcolm McMillan was appointed Chief Executive in April 2008.
He is a solicitor and a member of the Senior Civil Service, and is on secondment from the Government Legal Service for Scotland. Prior to his appointment to the Commission he was the Divisional Solicitor for the Rural Affairs Division in the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, specialising in EU law, public law and legislation. Malcolm's current interests focus on law reform and law reform methodology, on which he has published articles and made presentations to international conferences. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies, and a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat's specialised consultancy pool for Rule of Law Projects.
Government Legal Service for Scotland
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Joan Melville MBE