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Wednesday, 16 February, 2000, 21:43 GMT
Top law officer quits

Lord Hardie Lord Hardie will no longer oversee the prosecution of the Lockerbie trial




Scotland's senior law officer has resigned from the devolved Scottish government and moved to the bench as a judge.

Lord Hardie, the Lord Advocate, will also lose his role as prosecutor in the trial of the two Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie bombing.

He had faced particular problems in dealing with the implications of the European Convention of Human Rights for Scots Law.

Political post

In particular, temporary sheriffs were ruled out of order because, arguably, they owed their jobs to the Lord Advocate who held a political post, contrary to the Convention.

The Scottish Executive is now coming under pressure to change the role of the Lord Advocate.

The Scottish National Party says his replacement should not be in the Executive.

Lord Hardie Lord Hardie: moving to the bench
> Lord Hardie is expected to be replaced by Colin Boyd, the Solicitor General, with the firm intention that the Lord Advocate will remain in cabinet.

But Roseanna Cunningham MSP of the SNP says it is an opportunity to separate the law from politics again.

The new appointment will have to be ratified by the Scottish parliament - which guarantees a new public controversy over the role of law officers.

UK post

Andrew Hardie QC, was appointed Lord Advocate in the Scottish Executive on 20 May 1999, prior to which he was Lord Advocate in the UK administration.

He was created a Life Peer on 21 May 1997. He is a Member of the Privy Council. He will continue in that role in the Scottish Executive.

Lord Hardie was an Advocate Depute from 1979 to 1983, Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates from 1989 to 1994 and Dean of Faculty from 1994 to 1997.

Married with three children, Lord Hardie lives in Edinburgh.
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See also:
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Lockerbie legalities explained
18 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Lockerbie judges' biographies
05 Apr 99 |  World
Trial follows years of bargaining

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