Senator of the College of Justice

The Senators of the College of Justice are judges of the College of Justice, a set of legal institutions involved in the administration of justice in Scotland. There are three types of senator: Lords of Session (judges of the Court of Session); Lords Commissioners of Justiciary (judges of the High Court of Justiciary); and the Chairman of the Scottish Land Court. Whilst the High Court and Court of Session historically maintained separate judiciary, these are now one and the same, and the term, Senator, is almost exclusively used in referring to the judges of these courts.

Senators of the college use the title Lord or Lady along with a surname or a territorial name. Note, however, that some senators have a peerage title, which would be used instead of the senatorial title. All senators of the college have the honorific, The Honourable, before their titles, while those who are also privy counsellors or peers have the honorific, The Right Honourable. Senators are made privy counsellors upon promotion to the Inner House.

Under section 11 of the Treason Act 1708, it is treason to kill a Senator of the College of Justice "sitting in Judgment in the Exercise of their Office within Scotland".


In the past other officers of state were included as senators, including the Lord Advocate, Lord Clerk Register, Master of Requests and the Secretary of State.

List of senators

The Court of Session Act 1988, when enacted, limited the number of Senators of the College of Justice (aside from the chairman of the Scottish Land Court, who ranks as a senator) to 34.[1] This was subsequently increased to 35 by The Maximum Number of Judges (Scotland) Order 2016, enacted by the Scottish Ministers.[2]

Inner House

The Lord President is the president of the First Division, and the Lord Justice Clerk is the president of the Second Division. The puisne judges are limited to five assigned to each of those two divisions.[3]

SenatorMandatory retirementInner House appointmentOuter House appointmentDivision
1The Rt Hon. Lord Carloway (Lord President of the Court of Session
and Lord Justice General
20 May 2024August 2008February 2000First
2The Rt Hon. Lady Dorrian (Lord Justice Clerk)16 June 2027November 20122005Second
3The Rt Hon. Lady Paton2022April 2007January 2000Second
4The Rt Hon. Lord Menzies28 August 2023February 20122001First
5The Rt Hon. Lady Smith16 March 2025November 20122001First
6The Rt Hon. Lord Brodie14 July 2020November 20122002First
7The Rt Hon. Lord Drummond Young17 February 2020June 20132001Second
8The Rt Hon. Lord Malcolm1 October 20231 July 20142007Second
9The Rt Hon. Lord Glennie3 December 2020July 20162005First
10The Rt Hon. Lord Turnbull1 October 2023September 20162006Second

Outer House

SenatorMandatory retirementAppointment
11The Hon. Lord Kinclaven2 June 20212005
12The Hon. Lord Brailsford16 August 20242006
13The Hon. Lord Uist1 February 2021April 2006
14The Hon. Lord Matthews4 December 20282007
15The Hon. Lord Woolman16 May 2023March 2008
16The Hon. Lord Pentland11 March 2027November 2008
17The Hon. Lord BannatyneAugust 2024November 2008
18The Hon. Lady Stacey25 May 2024January 2009
19The Hon. Lord Tyre17 April 2026May 2010
20The Hon. Lord Doherty30 January 2028May 2010
21The Rt Hon. The Lord Boyd of Duncansby PC7 June 202326 June 2012
22The Hon. Lord Burns202212 July 2012
23The Hon. Lady Scott20302 November 2012
24The Hon. Lady Wise20336 February 2013
25The Hon. Lord Armstrong15 February 2013
26The Hon. Lady Rae20 June 202014 January 2014
27The Hon. Lady Wolffe11 March 2014
28The Hon. Lord Beckett17 May 2016
29The Hon. Lord Clark24 May 2016
30The Hon. Lord Ericht203331 May 2016
31The Hon. Lady Carmichael203930 June 2016
32The Rt. Hon. Lord Mulholland18 April 202915 December 2016
33The Hon. Lord Summers17 March 2017
34The Hon. Lord Arthurson17 March 2017

Retired judges

There are also some retired judges who still sit occasionally in the Court of Session or the Court of Criminal Appeal to hear cases if needed when there is a shortage of available judges. They are also called Senators of the College of Justice. As of 2019, eight retired judges are available to sit as judges:

SenatorBecomes ineligible to act as a judgeAppointmentRetirement
1The Rt Hon. Lord Stewart14 December 202120102016
2The Rt Hon. The Lord Hardie8 January 202120002012
3The Rt Hon. Lady Cosgrove12 January 202119962006
4The Rt Hon. Lord Bonomy15 January 202119972012
5The Rt Hon. Lord Emslie17 April 202220012012
6The Rt. Hon. Lord Clarke202220002016
7The Rt. Hon. Lord Kingarth21 June 202419972010
8The Rt. Hon. Lord EassieOctober 202019972015

See also


  1. Court of Session Act 1988, s. 1.
  2. Scottish Parliament. The Maximum Number of Judges (Scotland) Order 2016 as made, from
  3. Court of Session Act 1988, s. 2.
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