The Lord Justice Clerk is the second most senior judge in Scotland, after the Lord President of the Court of Session.

The holder has the title in both the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary and is in charge of the Second Division of Judges in the Court of Session. The office is one of the Great Officers of State of Scotland.



Originally clericus justiciarie or Clerk to the Court of Justiciary, the counterpart in the criminal courts of the Lord Clerk Register, the status of the office increased over time and the Justice-Clerk came to claim a seat on the Bench by practice and custom. This was recognised by the Privy Council of Scotland in 1663 and the Lord Justice-Clerk became the effective head of the reformed High Court of Justiciary in 1672 when the court was reconstituted.

The Lord Justice Clerk now rarely presides at criminal trials in the High Court, with most of his time being spent dealing with civil and criminal appeals and appeals against the grant or refusal of bail.



partial list



  1. ^ a b "Scottish Judicial Appointments". 10 Downing Street. 2001-11-13. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  • For listings to 1637 (may be wanting) refer to The Staggering State of the Scots' Statesmen, by Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet, Director of Chancery, Edinburgh, 1754, p.183.