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Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

Since 4 July, 161 devolution issues have been intimated to the Advocate-General. Of these, 102 related to civil proceedings and 59 related to criminal proceedings.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Will he join me in congratulating the new Lord Advocate on her appointment? Will he also confirm whether the Advocate-General was consulted on that appointment and whether there are plans to distinguish the office of chief legal adviser to the Cabinet in Scotland on Scottish legal affairs from that of chief prosecutor?

I am very happy to join the hon. Lady in welcoming the new Lord Advocate, who is the first ever woman to hold that post. The daughter of a coal merchant from Govan has risen to the top of the legal and political establishment in Scotland. That is a great tribute to her talents and abilities. As the hon. Lady knows, the role of the Lord Advocate as head of prosecutions is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998. The independence as such is enshrined in that Act. Other arrangements, such as whether the Lord Advocate is a member of the Cabinet in the Scottish Executive, are matters for the First Minister.