Having difficulty obtaining legal aid in Scotland ? spare a thought for SLAB’s new board members on £212 a day, Chairman on £301 a day

06 Apr

MacAskill tight lippedJustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. While many Scots face great difficulty & obstruction in attempting to claim legal aid funds to enable their access to justice or legal services, the many unfortunate claimants among us may or may not wish to spare a thought for workload of the latest appointments to the Scottish Legal Aid Board, announced last week by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, where four new board members (Alastair Kinroy QC, Sheriff Ray Small, Ray MacFarlane and Bill McQueen CBE) are to receive £212 a day for a time commitment of 3.5 days per month while the reappointed Chairman, Iain A Robertson CBE, makes do with an even more modest £301 a day for a time commitment of 2 days per week.

While most of us have to make do, or more usually can hardly cope with one job, many of those appearing in this round of appointments seem to have three or more well paid positions on various other quangos & Scottish Government institutions as the following Scottish Government release reveals.

SG lawyers salariesScottish Legal Aid Board appointments

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice today announced the appointment of four new members and the reappointment of the Chairman and two members to the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

The new members are Alastair Kinroy QC, Sheriff Ray Small, Ray MacFarlane and Bill McQueen CBE.

Alastair Kinroy QC has been a member of the Scottish Bar since 1987 and a Queen’s Counsel since 2005. Previously he was a court solicitor in Edinburgh. His practice has been mostly in the Court of Session, with occasional Sheriff Court work. In his early years at the Bar he did a volume of Family Law work; in more recent years commercial work has been a significant part of his practice. His practice has always had a large element of personal injury work and professional negligence cases. He holds no other Ministerial public appointments.

Sheriff Ray Small has been a Sheriff at Hamilton, since 2001, having previously served as a Temporary and Part Time Sheriff, for three years. Before appointment to the bench, he qualified as a Solicitor in 1982 and practised in Glasgow, specialising in civil and criminal court work. He joined the Bar in 1992 and practised there until his Shrieval appointment. Sheriff Small also acts as a Director of Family Mediation, South Lanarkshire, and as an Independent Chair of the Scottish Football Association’s Appeals Tribunals. He was involved in the Youth Court pilot scheme at Hamilton and is a contributor to legal textbooks on court procedure. He holds no other Ministerial public appointments. As Sheriff Small remains a Sheriff, he receives no remuneration for this appointment.

Ray Macfarlane practised as a solicitor in Glasgow before moving into senior management roles with Scottish Enterprise and HBOS plc. She is Deputy Chair of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, a Trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland and a Non-Executive Director of the Scottish Housing Regulator. Ray receives remuneration of £2,280 p.a. for the latter role. She holds no other Ministerial public appointments.

Bill McQueen CBE is a former Deputy Chief Executive of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and has extensive experience of central government and its sponsored bodies, having also worked in the Scottish Office and Scottish Executive in a number of policy areas including Transport, Management and Organisation, and delivery of Corporate Services. Bill is currently a member of the Accounts Commission for Scotland (£6200 p.a.), a Non-Executive Director of Disclosure Scotland (£215 per day) and a Lay Member of the Employment Tribunals (Scotland) (£174 per day). He holds no other Ministerial public appointments.


Iain A Robertson CBE (Chairman) was chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) from 1990 to 2000 having previously spent 15 years with BP, latterly as director of acquisitions and divestitures in the USA. In addition to other senior industry and voluntary sector roles, he has served as a member of several boards, including the Scottish Tourist Board, Locate in Scotland Supervisory Board and the Cairngorms Partnership.

Iain is a member of the Accounts Commission (£6216 p.a.), an independent member of the Business Innovation and Skills Legal Services Group Board (£4800 p.a.), an independent member of HMRC Solicitor’s Office Strategic Management Group (£4800 p.a.) and Chairman of the Coal Liabilities Strategy Board at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (£750 per day). He holds no other Ministerial public appointments.

Paul McBride QC joined the Bar in 1988 and became the youngest Queen’s Counsel in the UK in the year 2000. He specialises in criminal defence work and has served as an Advocate Depute. He holds no other Ministerial public appointments.

Graham Watson retired from the Royal Air Force in 2003 as a Group Captain after 31 years’ service. He is a professional engineer with over 30 years of senior management experience in a wide range of appointments. He is currently a member of Fife NHS Board where he is Chair Glenrothes and North East Fife Community Health Partnership for which he receives remuneration of £16,016 p.a.

These appointments and reappointments will be for 4 years and will run from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2014.

The members posts are part-time and attract a remuneration of £212 per day for a time commitment of 3.5 days per month.

The Chairman’s post is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £301 per day for a time commitment of 2 days per week.

SLAB is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body established under the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 to manage legal aid in Scotland. Its primary aims are to deliver efficient, effective and value for money legal assistance services; to broaden access by exploring new ways of providing and supporting quality assured legal advice services; to contribute to the improvement and effective operation of the justice system.

These Ministerial public appointments were made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland’s Code of Practice.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last 5 years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Paul McBride has declared that he is currently the Advisor to the Conservative Party on Scottish and UK Law and Order and has previously spoken and canvassed on behalf of both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. None of the other appointees or reappointees have been involved in any political activity.


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