- Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal
The Right Honourable
name = The Baroness Scotland of Asthal
honorific-suffix = PC, QC
caption = Patricia Scotland speaking at the pre-launch of
LGBT History Month08 at the Royal Courts of Justiceon 26 November 2007
Attorney General for England and Wales
28 June 2007
predecessor=The Lord Goldsmith
birth_date = Birth date and age|1955|08|19|df=yes
nationality = British
party = Labour
University of London
website = [http://www.lslo.gov.uk The Law Officers]
Patricia Janet Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, PC, QC (born
19 August 1955) is a barristerand the current Attorney General for England and Wales, a ministerial position in the British Government.
Scotland was born in
Dominicato Antiguan and Dominican parents, but her family moved to Walthamstowwhen she was three, where she went to Walthamstow School for Girls. She is the tenth of twelve children. She was educated at University College London where she earned her law degree in 1976. She was called to the bar at the Middle Templein 1977, specialising in family and children's law. In 1991 she was the first black woman to be made a Queen's Counsel.
She was a speaker at the 'Women of the Year' Luncheon in October 1993; her speech claiming that there was a male way and a female way to work in a profession was criticised as superficial by the journalist
Anne McElvoy. Early in 1997 she was elected as a Bencherof the Middle Temple. Scotland was named as a Millennium Commissioner on February 17, 1994, and was a member of the Commission for Racial Equality. She received a life peerageas Baroness Scotland of Asthal, of Asthalin the County of Oxfordshire, on a Labour Party list of working peers in 1997. However, her continued legal work led to a low attendance record in the House of Lords. Among other things she headed an inquiry into a murder committed by a psychiatric patient.
In a government reshuffle in 1999, Scotland was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She was responsible for the British overseas territories, and also relations with Southern Asian countries. She was responsible for introducing the Bill to ratify the International Criminal Courtin the United Kingdom. She also established a panel of British-based lawyers who gave their time on a " pro bono" basis to United Kingdom nationals imprisoned in foreign countries. In 2001she became Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, and was made a member of the Privy Council. Scotland was a contender for a cabinetposition in 2003, when Tony Blair reportedly considered appointing her Leader of the House of Lords[ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,,1057438,00.html New Face of the Lords] , The Guardian, 7 October 2003.] .
In 2003, Lady Scotland of Asthal was made
Minister of Statefor the Criminal Justice system and Law Reform at the Home Office. A new extradition treatywith the United States of Americahad been signed on March 31, 2003. Scotland had the responsibility for promoting the necessary legislation in the House of Lords. [ [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/cgi-bin/newhtml_hl?DB=semukparl&STEMMER=en&WORDS=iain%20duncan%20smith&ALL=Iain%20Duncan%20Smith&ANY=&PHRASE=&CATEGORIES=&SIMPLE=&SPEAKER=&COLOUR=red&STYLE=s&ANCHOR=muscat_highlighter_first_match&URL=/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm060712/debtext/60712-0889.htm#muscat_highlighter_first_match Extradition Debate] Hansard, 12 July 2006.] . In 2004 Scotland was suggested as a possible appointee as a Commissioner of the European Union.
NatWest Three' extradition case directly connected to the treaty was unusual in that the offences the three were charged with are not typically extradition offences. The three men are all British citizens, worked and lived in the UK for the Royal Bank Of Scotland and the NatWest Bank, both British banks. The UK ratified the UK/US extradition treaty of 2003 while the US has still to bring the legislation into law. On 12 July 2006, in a highly unusual move, the Speaker of the House, Michael Martin, allowed an emergency debate on both the treaty and the 'NatWest Three' after a request by Liberal Democrat frontbencher Nick Clegg.During the debate Lady Scotland of Asthal's view in 2005 that a higher threshold to establish 'probable cause' was required by the UK to extradite from the US than vice-versa was contrasted by Clegg to comments the Prime Minister had made in July 2006 in which he stated that the evidential burdens on the two countries were the same [ [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/cgi-bin/newhtml_hl?DB=semukparl&STEMMER=en&WORDS=baro%20scotland&ALL=Baroness%20Scotland&ANY=&PHRASE=&CATEGORIES=&SIMPLE=&SPEAKER=&COLOUR=red&STYLE=s&ANCHOR=muscat_highlighter_first_match&URL=/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm060712/debtext/60712-0887.htm#muscat_highlighter_first_match Extradition Debate] Hansard, 12 July 2006.] .
NatWest Threewere duly convicted of wire fraud in the United States.
28 June 2007, Lady Scotland of Asthal was appointed Attorney General by the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. She is the first woman to hold the office.
* [http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/organisation/ministers/baroness-scotland/?version=1 Official biography]
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