Baroness Patricia Scotland

Baroness Scotland was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica as the tenth child of twelve. Her family moved to Walthamstow when she was two years old. She attended the Walthamstow School for Girls. She was educated at Mid Essex Technical College in Chelmsford where she pursued a London University (LLB) law degree in 1976 She was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1977 specialising in family and children's law. Baroness Scotland made history in 1991 by becoming the first black woman to be appointed a Queen's Counsel. She later founded 1 Gray's Inn Square barristers chambers. Early in 1997 she was elected as a Bencher of the Middle Temple. Scotland was named as a Millennium Commissioner on 17 February 1994, and was a member of the Commission for Racial Equality. She received a life peerage on a Labour Party list of working peers in 1997.

From 1999 to 2001 Baroness Scotland was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where she was responsible for the UK Government's diplomatic relations with North America, the Caribbean,Overseas Territories, Consular Division, British Council, administration and all Parliamentary business in the House of Lords. Baroness Scotland notably introduced the International Criminal Court Bill which sought to ratify the jurisdiction of theInternational Criminal Court into UK law. She established the Pro Bono Lawyers Panel, a panel of British-based lawyers who provided legal advice on a pro bonobasis to United Kingdom nationals imprisoned in foreign countries. She created an Overseas Territories Council for the Caribbean and reformed and restructured the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Division to be able to respond more effectively to emergencies and disasters abroad such as the 11 September attacks.

In 2001 she became Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, and was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. She was the minister responsible for civil justice and the reform of civil law including the comprehensive reform of land registration leading to the Land Registration Act 2002. She was also responsible for international affairs at the Lord Chancellor's Department and was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair as the UK Alternate Representative to the European Convention and was given primary responsibility for the negotiations in relation to the Charter of Rights which were successfully concluded in 2003. During this period she consolidated the strong relations created with all the applicant countries through the FAHR programme and the member states and was subsequently awarded the Polish Medal for her contribution to the reform and development of Law in Poland.

Baroness Scotland was a contender for a cabinet position in 2003, when Prime Minister Blair reportedly considered appointing her Leader of the House of Lords.

In 2003 Baroness Scotland was made Minister of State for the Criminal Justice System and Law Reform at the Home Office and deputy to the Home Secretary. She served in that post until 2007 under three Home Secretaries: David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and John Reid. Whilst at the Home Office she was responsible for major reform of the criminal justice system. She created the Office of Criminal Justice Reform which helped to create and support the National Criminal Justice Board and the Local Criminal Justice Board. Having acted as Chair, she then created three Alliances to reduce re-offending (Corporate, Civic and Faith based Alliance) and the Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence. She created an advisory group on victims and the Criminal Justice Centre, Victims and Witness units. Baroness Scotland created Inside Justice Week and the Justice Awards. She introduced the Crime and Victims Act which created new offence of familial homicide which was successfully used to prosecute the killers of Baby P who would otherwise have escaped responsibility for his death. By 2009, domestic violence in the UK had been reduced by 64%. The domestic violence homicide rate had been significantly reduced and crime was at its lowest since 1991.

Baroness Scotland continued her responsibility for international affairs at the Home Office and continued to represent the UK in a number of difficult and challenging international negotiations such as those relating to extradition.

In 2004 Baroness Scotland was considered to be a possible candidate to become a commissioner of the European Union.

In November 2012, she was appointed Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to South Africa. Attorney General[edit]

On 28 June 2007 Baroness Scotland was appointed Attorney General by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She was the first woman to hold the office since its foundation in 1315. As Attorney General she was the Chief legal adviser to: Her Majesty The Queen, Parliament and the Government, Supervisor and Superintendent of the Prosecutorial Authorities (SFO,CPS, RCPO), Leader of the Bar and had non-statutory oversight of the prosecutors in government departments, the Treasury Solicitors Department and armed services prosecuting authority. She was Guardian of the Rule of Law and Public Interest. She was one of the three Cabinet Ministers responsible for the criminal justice system and had specific responsibility for fraud policy and the National Fraud Authority and chaired the Inter-Ministerial Group responsible for the improvement of the response to fraud and e-crime.

She was instrumental in creating the Quintet which brought together the Attorneys General of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to consider issues of joint legal and systemic concern. During her time as Attorney General, Baroness Scotland continued to promote pro bono work by lawyers and created an international and Schools Pro Bono Committee which was responsible for co-ordinating pro bono work. She created the Pro Bono Awards and Pro Bono Heroes. She also created an Attorney General's Youth Network.

She was the last Attorney General for England and Wales also to be the Attorney General for Northern Ireland before the devolution of justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the appointment of a separate Attorney General for Northern Ireland.

When Labour left government on 11 May 2010, Baroness Scotland became the Shadow Attorney General and was reappointed to that role by Ed Miliband when he appointed his first Shadow Cabinet in October 2010, where she was instrumental in creating Labour's strategy against Rupert Murdoch. She is currently a president of Chatham House.