Richard Keen, Baron Keen of Elie

Richard Sanderson Keen, Baron Keen of Elie QC PC (born 29 March 1954) is a British lawyer and Conservative Party politician. He has been Advocate General for Scotland since May 2015.

The Lord Keen of Elie

Advocate General for Scotland
Assumed office
29 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byThe Lord Wallace of Tankerness
Minister of State for Home Affairs
In office
31 March 2016  13 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byThe Lord Bates
Succeeded byThe Baroness Williams of Trafford
Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party
In office
January 2014  28 May 2015
LeaderRuth Davidson
Succeeded byRab Forman
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
8 June 2015
Life Peerage
Personal details
Richard Sanderson Keen

(1954-03-29) 29 March 1954
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Jane Anderson
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

Early life

Keen was educated at The King's School, Rochester and Dollar Academy, and graduated LLB (with Honours) in law from the University of Edinburgh in 1976, where he was a Beckman scholar.[1] He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1980 and took silk (QC) in 1993.[2] He was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales in 2009 and elected a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 2011.

Keen served as standing junior counsel in Scotland to the Department of Trade and Industry from 198693. He specialises in commercial law, property law and administrative law. He is also a member of Blackstone Chambers in Middle Temple, London.

He defended Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, with Fhimah being acquitted of all charges.[3] In 2007, he represented Henri Paul's family at the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.[3]

He represented Andy Coulson in relation to perjury charges.[4][5]

He has regularly appeared in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. In 2016 he appeared for the United Kingdom Government in the R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union ("Article 50 case") where he successfully argued that there was no constitutional requirement for the devolved administrations to consent to Brexit.

Keen was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates (leader of the Scottish Bar) in 2007. He remained Dean until January 2014 when he resigned to become chair of the Scottish Conservative Party.[6][7]

He was appointed the Advocate General for Scotland on 29 May 2015, and stepped down as chair of the Scottish Conservative Party.[8][9] In May 2016 he was also appointed Lords Minister for the Ministry of Justice with policy responsibility for civil justice in England and Wales and regulation and promotion of the legal profession in England and Wales. In September 2017 he was appointed Minister for the Crown Dependencies.

Keen was created a Life Peer on 8 June 2015 taking the title Baron Keen of Elie, of Elie in Fife.[10] On 15 November 2017 Lord Keen was sworn as a Member of the Privy Council.

Personal life

Keen is married to Jane Carolyn Anderson and has two children, a son and a daughter. His interests include golf, skiing, shooting and opera. He is a member of the New Club; the Beefsteak; The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield; The Royal & Ancient at St Andrews and the Golf House Club, Elie. He was reported to be one of the highest earners in Scotland, being featured on a list of the top 100 earners in 2003. He is a collector of classic cars.[11]


  1. 'KEEN OF ELIE', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017
  2. "Richard S. Keen Q.C.: Building & Construction, Commercial, Constitutional, Judicial Review, Oil & Gas". The Faculty of Advocates. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  3. "Scottish bar names Richard Keen QC as new head". The Lawyer. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  4. "Andy Coulson appears in court on perjury charge", BBC News (Glasgow and West Scotland), 18 June 2013
  5. "Andy Coulson appears in court on perjury charge", The Herald (Glasgow), 18 June 2013
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. Keen is new Dean : News : The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland
  8. "Advocate General for Scotland appointed - Press releases - GOV.UK". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  9. "Richard Keen QC becomes new Advocate General". 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  10. "No. 61254". The London Gazette. 12 June 2015. p. 10852.
  11. "Who earns what - part 2 - Top stories". 18 September 2003. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Lord Wallace of Tankerness
Advocate General for Scotland
2015 present
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