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). 

The Rt Hon Lady Paton photo

David Bartos

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.

David Bartos photo

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).

Professor Gillian Black photo

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.

Kate Dowdalls QC photo

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.

Professor Frankie McCarthy photo

Chief Executive

Malcolm McMillan

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.

Malcolm McMillan photo


Legal staff

Government Legal Service for Scotland
Stephen Crilly
Alison Fraser
Charles Garland
Graham McGlashan
Lorraine Stirling*

Legal Assistants
Nicholas Burgess
Elizabeth Connaughton
Molly Little
Charlie MacKay

Non-legal staff

Library and Information Services
Emma McLarty*

General Office 
Helen Stevenson, Office Manager*
Iain Ritchie
Gordon Speirs

Secretarial Services
Wilma Campbell

* Part-Time