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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 16:31 GMT
High profile judge's Lockerbie role
Lord Cullen
Lord Cullen is a prominent legal figure in Scotland
Lord Cullen, who will be one of five judges to hear the Lockerbie bomber's appeal against his conviction, is one of the most high profile judges in Scotland.

Click here to read profiles of the other judges involved in the Lockerbie appeal.

He has become a prominent legal figure because of his stewardship of a number of major public inquiries.

Tragedies like the Ladbroke Grove rail crash, the Dunblane shootings and the Piper Alpha oil platform disaster have seen him being thrust into the limelight.

He was also involved in the process which originally led to the Lockerbie trial taking place.

Ladbroke Grove rail crash
The Ladbroke Grove crash was one of the worst in the UK

On 6 July 1988, the North Sea Piper Alpha oil platform caught fire and exploded, killing 167 of the 228 on board.

Lord Cullen was given the unenviable task of answering the tough questions of how and why the disaster happened.

It took the top lawyer almost two years to complete his investigation and the conclusions led to the biggest tranche of safety reforms in the North Sea oil industry.

The Cullen Report, submitted in December 1990, resulted in most oil operating companies examining and altering their safety systems.

Lord Cullen's professional mettle was tested once again when he was appointed to head the public inquiry into the Dunblane tragedy.

On 13 March 1996, 16 children and their teacher were shot dead by Thomas Hamilton at the primary school in the small Scottish town.

Piper Alpha
Lord Cullen investigated the Piper Alpha disaster

Lord Cullen's recommendations led to fundamental changes over the ownership of handguns.

He has also played a central role in the complex legal arguments surrounding the impending case of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing.

The graduate of the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh was appointed a judge in 1986 and a Privy Counsellor in 1997.

In 1998 William Douglas Cullen was made Lord Justice Clerk.

Between 1970 and 1973 he was Standing Junior Counsel to HM Customs and Excise and he was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1973 and served as an Advocate Depute from 1978 to 1981.

Lord Cullen was a Chairman of Medical Appeal Tribunals from 1977 until his appointment as a judge.

Dunblane
He presided over the Dunblane inquiry

He is a former member of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

And he has been awarded honorary degrees from the Universities of Aberdeen, St Andrews and Heriot-Watt.

Lord Cullen's report on the Ladbroke Grove rail crash pulled no punches and was highly critical of Railtrack in particular for "institutional paralysis" and a "lamentable failure" to learn from earlier safety failures.

He made 88 recommendations in his 270-page report, and said he was confident that his proposals would be acted upon.

Lockerbie megapuff graphic

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