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New sheriffs appointed


Sep 2, 2022

Her Majesty the Queen has appointed eleven new sheriffs to serve the sheriffdoms of Glasgow and Strathkelvin, Grampian, Highland and Islands, North Strathclyde, South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway, and Tayside, Central and Fife.


Shona Gilroy, John Hamilton QC, Michael Hanlon, Paul Haran, David Harvie, Krista Johnston, Derek Livingston, Charles Lugton, John MacRitchie, David Taylor and James Varney have been appointed to the office of sheriff on the recommendation of the First Minister.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made her recommendations for appointment on the basis of a report by the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland (JABS).

JABS is an independent advisory public body with the role of recommending individuals for appointment to judicial offices within the Board’s remit, including judge of the Court of Session, chair of the Scottish Land Court, sheriff principal, sheriff, and summary sheriff.

The First Minister has statutory responsibility for making recommendations to Her Majesty the Queen and is required by statute to consult the Lord President of the Court of Session before making her recommendation.

The salary of a sheriff is £147,388 per annum.


Sheriff Sheriffdom Court Appointment Date
Shona Gilroy Glasgow and Strathkelvin Glasgow 26 September 2022
Michael Hanlon Glasgow and Strathkelvin Glasgow 26 September 2022
David Taylor Glasgow and Strathkelvin Glasgow 26 September 2022
David Harvie Grampian, Highland and Islands Inverness 26 September 2022
James Varney North Strathclyde Greenock 26 September 2022
John Hamilton QC South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway Hamilton 26 September 2022
Paul Haran South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway Airdrie 26 September 2022
Derek Livingston South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway Airdrie 26 September 2022
Krista Johnston Tayside, Central and Fife Forfar 26 September 2022
Charles Lugton Tayside, Central and Fife Stirling 26 September 2022
John MacRitchie Tayside, Central and Fife Perth 26 September 2022



Shona Gilroy graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1990 and joined the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service as a trainee solicitor. She remained with COPFS for over 25 years holding a number of posts including Head of Homicide and Head of Appeals. In 2017 she was appointed as a summary sheriff in Glasgow. 

John Hamilton QC graduated in law from the University of Aberdeen in 1990. He was admitted to Faculty of Advocates in 1998 and took silk in 2011. He specialised in criminal work, including being an Advocate Depute from 2003 to 2006. From 2009 to 2012 he was the Director of Training and Education for the Faculty of Advocates. Sheriff Hamilton sat as a legal chair on the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland from 2008, the Parole Board for Scotland and the Social Entitlement Chamber from 2014. In 2017 he was appointed as a Summary Sheriff.

Michael Hanlon graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in law, and from Glasgow Graduate School of Law with a Masters in Human Rights Law. He started his career with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. He worked at the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, as Judicial Secretary to Lord President Hamilton and as the Director of Legal and Policy at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. In 2015 he was appointed a Convener for the Additional Support Needs Tribunal. He was appointed a Summary Sheriff in 2016.

Paul Haran graduated from Dundee University with an LLB (Hons) degree followed by the Diploma in Legal Practice from Edinburgh University. After completing his traineeship with a criminal firm in Edinburgh, he joined the Public Defence Solicitors Office in 2003. In 2006 he became Head of Office and was granted extended rights of audience (criminal) in 2009. In 2021 he became Director of PDSO followed in 2022 by his appointment as the Scottish Legal Aid Board’s Director of Client Legal Services covering PDSO, SLAB’s Solicitor Contact Line and the Civil Legal Assistance Office.

David Harvie graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1991 with a LLB (Hons) degree, obtaining the Diploma in Legal Practice in 1992.  After a spell as a solicitor in private practice, he joined the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and worked in a range of roles across Scotland. He became a Solicitor Advocate in 2014.  He was appointed Crown Agent, the Head of COPFS, in 2016. He served on the Scottish Sentencing Council from 2016 to 2021.

Krista Johnston is a graduate of law from Edinburgh University. She trained with J and A Hastie, Edinburgh before joining More and Co, Dunfermline in 1992, where she specialised in criminal defence work. Along with others she founded the firm of Martin, Johnston and Socha in 1998. She was appointed to the Scottish Sentencing Council in 2019. In 2007 she became a solicitor advocate and was accredited with senior status in 2020. Krista has been a part-time Sheriff since January 22 and more recently an Ad hoc AD. 

Derek Livingston graduated LLB at the University of Glasgow before joining the firm of Joseph Mellick in 1978 where he served his apprenticeship. From there he joined Naftalin Duncan & Co, becoming a partner in 1981. His work was initially both in the criminal and civil spheres before specialising in the civil side of things taking a particular interest in housing and welfare law but engaging in the full range of civil work as well as regularly carrying out night work for a newspaper. In 2007 he was appointed as a part time sheriff and in 2016 as a summary sheriff at Falkirk.

Charles Lugton graduated from Edinburgh University, obtaining an accelerated LLB in 2004 and a Diploma in Legal Practice in 2005. He began his traineeship in 2005 and was admitted as a solicitor in 2007. He worked for Simpson & Marwick from 2005 to 2009 and subsequently for Morton Fraser until 2011. He specialised in clinical negligence and personal injury litigation. He became an advocate in 2012 and developed a principally civil practice. He advised a broad range of clients, including local authorities, health boards, insurers and private individuals. He became a summary sheriff in 2019.       

John MacRitchie graduated from Aberdeen University. He was Dean of Faculty in Peterhead and Fraserburgh for ten years. In 2012, he was appointed Acting Chief Justice, Chief Magistrate, Chief Coroner, Registrar of Lands, President of the Land Development Appeals Tribunal, President of the Media Commission, Chair of the Immigration Appeal Court, Chair of the Mental Health Tribunal and Labour Regulating Authority, for the UK overseas territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. In 2017, he was appointed a Summary Sheriff of Lothian & Borders.

David Taylor obtained an LLB honours degree from the University of Edinburgh. He trained with John Wilson and Co. before joining MacRoberts and then Cochran Sayers & Cook (becoming HBM Sayers in 1999). He was elected head of the management board of HBM Sayers in 2012 and appointed to the executive board of BLM on the merger of HBM Sayers and BLM in 2014. He became a Solicitor Advocate in 1999 and is a member of the Civil Justice Committee of the Law Society. Latterly he has specialised in property damage litigation.

James Varney graduated from the Universities of Dundee, Brussels and Strathclyde. He was admitted as a Solicitor in 2001, completing his traineeship with MacRoberts LLP. He joined HBM Sayers in 2004 as an Assistant, Associate and Partner until his departure in 2019 to DAC Beachcroft. He has specialised throughout this time in the areas of regulatory and road traffic crime, as well as defending high value personal injury actions in ASPIC/Court of Session. Jamie has been a tutor at Glasgow University in civil litigation for the Diploma in Legal Practice since 2015.