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Lord President announces his intention to retire in 2025


Jun 4, 2024

The Lord President has written to His Majesty King Charles III to inform the King of his intention to retire in early 2025. Lord Carloway has also written to the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the First Minister of Scotland John Swinney to notify them of his decision.


Lord Carloway was appointed as Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General of Scotland in December 2015. He has been a Senator of the College of Justice since February 2000 and was appointed to the Second Division of the Inner House in August 2008, before becoming Lord Justice Clerk in August 2012.   Lord Carloway, the Lord President swearing in the First Minister of Scotland

He is a graduate of Edinburgh University (LLB Hons) and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1977. He served as an advocate depute from 1986 to 1989 and was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 1990. From 1994 until his appointment as a judge he was Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates.

Throughout his career the Lord President has presided over and shaped hugely significant changes to both the civil and criminal courts. This included overseeing the early stages of the implementation of the Gill Review, which recommended the most ambitious series of reforms to the civil court system in over 100 years, including the establishment of the Sheriff Appeal Court.

The Lord President has chaired the Scottish Civil Justice Council since 2015. During that time, it has implemented Civil Online and progressed the SCTS Digital Justice Strategy. In 2023, Lord Carloway supported and facilitated the establishment of the Scottish courts’ first livestreaming service, Court of Session Live.

On the criminal side, following the radical changes to the system of arrest and detention in Scotland which occurred in light of the UK Supreme Court’s decision in Cadder v HMA, Lord Carloway was appointed to conduct a review into the fairness of the criminal justice process as a whole.

Lord Carloway also initiated and chaired the Evidence and Procedure Review between 2013 and 2016. The Review looked into how to secure the best evidence from complainers and witnesses in criminal trials. Its recommendations included that greater use be made of the ability to pre-record a witness’s evidence, as well as the integration of technology into the summary trial process to facilitate early disclosure of evidence by the Crown.

The Lord President has been instrumental in the enforcement of the rape shield legislation seeking to protect vulnerable witnesses and victims while giving evidence in court.

During his years sitting in the appeal courts, Lord Carloway has heard a number of cases of constitutional or legal importance, including Wightman v Advocate General, Whitehouse v Chief Constable of Scotland, Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland, the posthumous appeal brought by Abdelbaset Ali Al-Megrahi in 2020, Glasgow City Council v VFS Financial Services Ltd, Galbraith Trawlers Ltd v Advocate General and The Lord Advocate’s Reference (No. 1 of 2023).