The Board

There are twelve Board Members: four judicial and two legal members (two Judges, a Sheriff Principal, a Sheriff, an Advocate and a Solicitor) and six lay members including the Lay Chairing Member.

The Chairing Member receives a fee of £350 per day. The other lay members and the two legal members receive a fee of £290 per day. The four judicial members do not receive any fees for work undertaken. All Board Members are eligible to claim for expenses incurred on Board business, based on Scottish Government Travel and Subsistence rules.

The Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 allows for Board Members to be appointed for a period of no more than four years; appointments can be renewed up to a maximum of 8 years.

On 1 May 2017, Nicola was appointed as the Lay Chairing Member of the Board for four years. Her career as a chartered engineer began after she became the first women in Scotland to earn a Masters degree in Petroleum Engineering.  Nicola spent many years living abroad working for Shell in the international oil and gas industry. During her career Nicola has developed and implemented strategy, partnered with governments in Denmark and Norway and led business improvement programmes. Nicola also led teams running the UK’s iconic Brent field and Norway’s giant Ormen Lange development.

Currently Nicola is Chair of the Strategy Advisory Board at Heriot-Watt University’s Institute of Petroleum Engineering and a director of Arts and Business Scotland, Edinburgh Printmakers and the Scottish Oil Club. Throughout her career Nicola has consistently championed diversity through mentoring and challenging the status quo.

Nicola and her husband live in the Scottish Borders and have three grown-up children.

Board Member Position: Lay Chairing Member

Alison Mitchell is a Non-executive Member of Lothian NHS Board and a Trustee of Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation. She is an experienced management consultant, specialising in change management, strategy planning and executive coaching. She is an Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) arbitrator and a member of the ACAS Central Arbitration Panel.

Previously, Mrs Mitchell worked for many years at Board level in the field of Human Resources and has extensive UK and international experience across a range of sectors, including Oil and Gas, Technology and Public Sectors. She is a former Director, Human Resources of the Scottish Prison Service. She sits on the Audit and Risk Committee for the Judicial Appointments Commission for England and Wales as their independent member. Mrs Mitchell is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and has a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CFCIPD). Mrs Mitchell was appointed in August 2013 for four years and reappointed in August 2017 for a further four years.

Board Member Position: Lay Member

Stephen Tierney is Professor of Constitutional Theory in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law. At Edinburgh he has also served as Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching and as complaints appeals investigator. He is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Toronto and has held visiting professorial positions in New Jersey and Barcelona.

He teaches and researches in constitutional law, addressing the changing constitutional arrangements of the UK and Scotland and the position of judges within the constitution. He was British Academy Senior Research Fellow 2008-2009 and Economic and Social Research Centre Senior Research Fellow 2013-2014, the latter position dedicated to studying the law and practice of referendums. He served as constitutional adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s Referendum (Scotland) Bill Committee in 2013 and as constitutional adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee in 2015. He is also editor of the UK Constitutional Law blog. Professor Tierney was appointed in May 2015 for four years.

Board Member Position: Lay Member

Deirdre Fulton has a commercial background. She is a partner in an aviation consultancy business which provides meaningful insight and analysis to clients across the globe. Typical assignments include air service development projects, strategic planning, due diligence, market research and insight. 

Prior to setting up her own company in 2008, Deirdre worked at a senior level in the Scottish aviation industry and gained extensive experience of corporate strategy and operations as well as people and resource management. Deirdre is a graduate of Strathclyde University and has a Masters Degree in Business Administration. She is an active member of her local community, chairing the Parent Council of the local primary school, and volunteering with her local Samaritans branch. She also joined the Scottish International Education Trust as a trustee in 2018.

Ms Fulton was appointed in February 2015 for four years.

Board Member Position: Lay Member

Neelam Bakshi brings over 30 years of experience in the Public Sector, including wide ranging governance experience as non-executive Board Member of various bodies including the Scottish Ambulance Service (where she chairs the Staff Governance Committee) and Scottish Government Audit and Risk Committees (2010-2015).

She is a freelance trainer, coach and consultant specialising in equality and diversity, public sector equality duties, and personal development. She was appointed in 2015 as a Public Appointments Adviser, working with the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland and has been a lay member of Employment Tribunals since 1992.

Neelam was a councillor and committee chair of the former Strathclyde Regional Council (1990-1996). During 2016/17 she concluded her roles as a member of the Equality and Human Rights Scotland Committee and the BBC Audience Council.

Ms Bakshi was appointed in February 2016 for four years.

Board Member Position: Lay Member

Lady Wise was appointed Judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland in February 2013. She is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and of McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She qualified as a Solicitor in 1989 and worked for Morton Fraser from 1989 to 1992, practising in general civil litigation.

She called to the Bar in 1993, working in civil litigation and specialising in family law. In 2005 she became a QC. She was a member of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Faculty of Advocates from 2005 and between 2008 and 2013 sat part time as a Temporary Judge in the Court of Session.

She was Chair of the Advocates Family Law Association and of the Family Law Arbitration Group Scotland prior to her elevation to the bench. Since 1 January 2016 she has been a Judge of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Lady Wise was appointed to the board in May 2016 for four years.

Board Member Position: Judicial Member

Lord Minginish (Roderick John MacLeod QC) is Chairman of the Scottish Land Court and President of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland. He was born and brought up in the Isle of Skye and obtained an honours law degree at the University of Edinburgh. He has practised both as a Solicitor and an Advocate. In October 2000 he was appointed an all-Scotland floating sheriff before becoming a resident Sheriff at Kirkcaldy in 2005.

He was seconded to the Scottish Land Court as Deputy Chair on a part-time basis in January 2006. From then until October 2014, when he was appointed to his present positions, he divided his time between the Land Court and sitting as a Sheriff at Edinburgh. He is a trustee of the St Andrew’s Children Society and Chair of the James Gillespie’s High School Trust and of the Board of Directors of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College in Skye which is an Academic Partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Always active in Gaelic and Highland affairs, at an earlier stage in his career he left the law to work in Gaelic broadcasting with BBC Scotland and, having returned to the law, continued as a part-time broadcaster for many years thereafter. He served for nine year as a member of the BBC’s Broadcasting Council for Scotland.

Lord Minginish was appointed in May 2015 for four years.

Board Member Position: Judicial Member

Sheriff Principal Pyle has been Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highland and Islands since 2013. He was previously a Sheriff from 2000 in the Sheriffdoms of Tayside, Central and Fife and Grampian, Highland and Islands. Prior to that he was senior litigation partner in the firm of solicitors Henderson Boyd Jackson, Edinburgh. He was appointed Solicitor Advocate in 1994. He has been a member of the Scottish Court Service Board. He is a visiting lecturer to the Siberian Federal University in Krasnojarsk, Russia.

Sheriff Principal Pyle was initially appointed to the Board on 1 May 2013 and was later reappointed until 1 October 2019.

Board Member Position: Judicial Member

Michael O'Grady Q.C. was educated at the University of Glasgow, where he graduated with degrees in Law and Politics and Philosophy. He thereafter spent 10 years in Edinburgh practising as a Solicitor, specialising in Criminal Law. He called to the Bar in 1988, again concentrating on crime. He spent over four years as an Advocate Depute. On leaving the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, he returned to practice, but also sat as a part-time Sheriff and was standing Junior Counsel to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

He took silk in 1997. He was Chairman of the Advocates' criminal law group. He has been a Sheriff for 17 years and a Temporary Judge for 14 years. He was the first Sheriff to be appointed to the Glasgow drug court. He also sits as an Appeal Sheriff. For some years he was a Board Member of SACRO. His interests are travel, playing and collecting guitars and being in the Highlands.

Sheriff O’Grady was appointed to the Board in January 2017.

Board Member Position: Judicial Member

James McNeill is a practising Advocate and was educated at Dunoon Grammar School, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities. He was admitted as an Advocate in 1978 and held the appointment of Standing Junior Counsel to the Inland Revenue in Scotland between 1988 and 1991, when he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. He sits as one of the Judges of the Courts of Appeal of Guernsey and Jersey and as Chair of the Disciplinary Appointments Committee of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. His principal outside interest is in music and between 2004 and 2010 he chaired the Music Committee of the Board of the Scottish International Piano Competition.

Mr McNeill was appointed in September 2012 for four years. In September 2016 he agreed to the extension of his appointment for a further period of two years.

Board Member Position: Legal Member

Mr Morris' career as a Solicitor spans three decades, with him establishing an industry wide reputation as an expert in Private Client services before becoming CEO of a large regional firm in 2005.

Outside of his daily work in a law firm, Alistair showed his commitment to the Scottish legal sector with over 20 years of representing the Sheriffdom of Cupar on the Council of the Law Society of Scotland. Following this significant contribution, he was elected President of the Law Society for one year from June 2014.

Representing the interests of all Scottish Solicitors, Mr Morris was responsible for the creation and delivery of the Society’s policies and strategies and regularly addressed politicians, leading civil servants and industry wide leaders.

Mr Morris was appointed in February 2015 for four years.

Board Member Position: Legal Member

Elizabeth Burnley has a background in Occupational Psychology, HR and general management. Her career started within manufacturing industry, within railway and chemical engineering. After leading a company manufacturing industrial locomotives, she moved into consultancy in team development and assessment and selection methods, an area she then undertook for the Boots Company plc. After experience as a Non-executive Director within the NHS, Elizabeth now chairs fitness to practise hearings for the Nursing and Midwifery Council and sits as a Lay Member for hearings at the General Pharmaceutical Council.

She has a BSc and MSc from the University of Nottingham, an MBA from the Open University and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Derby.

As a volunteer, Elizabeth was Chief Guide for the UK for 5 years and continues as an active volunteer.

Mrs Burnley was appointed as a Lay Assistant in January 2016 for three years. Further to this, she was appointed as a Lay Board Member from August 2018 for four years, until August 2022.

Board Member Position: Lay Member

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