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David Nisbet reports
"Colin Boyd promised to reform and modernise the legal system"
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banner Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 16:10 GMT
Lord Advocate's Lockerbie pledge
Colin Boyd
Colin Boyd gets down to work at his desk
Scotland's new Lord Advocate has insisted that the departure of his predecessor will have no impact on the Lockerbie trial.

Colin Boyd, who was installed at a ceremony in Edinburgh's historic Parliament House, also promised to modernise Scotland's legal system.

Mr Boyd replaces Lord Hardie, whose resignation to become a judge sent shockwaves through legal and political circles.

As Lord Advocate, Mr Boyd, 46, becomes a serving member of the Scottish cabinet and will be responsible for seeing through the Lockerbie trial in May.

'No effect whatsoever'

His previous position as solicitor general is filled by Neil Davidson QC, who was also formally installed at the same ceremony.

On Lockerbie, Mr Boyd said: "Andrew Hardie's resignation will have no effect whatsoever on either the preparation of the case, nor its presentation in court.

"I've been involved and I've led the preparation of the case.
Lord Hardie
Lord Hardie appointed himself a judge
"I've appeared at the preliminary diet at the High Court in the Netherlands and I will continue to take a very active role in the prosecution."

Mr Boyd is married with three children and is an expert on planning and administrative law.

The Lord Advocate is the country's most senior law officer and responsible for all prosecutions - including the trial of two Libyans accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people died.

After the shock resignation of Lord Hardie, relatives of the victims expressed dismay that the man leading the prosecution team should back out so close to the start of proceedings.

Convention challenges

But he insisted he had not let the families down and said his decision to resign was a personal one.

Opposition parties criticised Lord Hardie for the timing of his departure ahead of the trial.

He was also attacked for nominating himself as a judge and being involved in a number of controversies concerning the application of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The convention has led to several challenges to Scots law, one of which resulted in the appointment of the country's temporary sheriffs being declared unlawful under the Convention.

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See also:

17 Feb 00 | Scotland
New man at the legal helm
17 Feb 00 | Scotland
Sparks fly over Hardie exit
29 Oct 99 | World
Lockerbie charges in full
15 Nov 99 | Scotland
Euro-ruling hits court cases
18 Nov 99 | Scotland
Lockerbie judges' biographies
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