Baroness Patricia Scotland QC’s meteoric career has seen her already enter the history books, most notably as the first black female Queen’s Counsel and the first woman to become Attorney General
The family settled in Britain when she was aged two and, after studying law, she was called to the Bar in 1977. At the age of 35 she became the first black woman to become a QC, and the youngest person since William Pitt the Younger in 18th century England.
In 1997, she received a life peerage from Tony Blair’s Labour government, created Baroness Scotland of Asthal in Oxfordshire and in 1999 was appointed parliamentary under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Her next job was parliamentary secretary for the Lord Chancellor’s Department and membership of the Privy Council. She was responsible for the reform of civil law and international affairs, later becoming Minister for the Criminal Justice System and Law Reform at the Home Office.
In 2007, she was appointed Attorney General in the Gordon Brown government, the first woman to hold that position since its foundation in the 14th century.
Since 2016 Patricia has been the Commonwealth Secretary General. She was nominated by Dominica, where she still holds citizenship. She is the first woman to hold the appointment and is responsible for facilitating cooperation between Commonwealth members, assisting and advising on policy development.
She features in 100 Great Black Britons, which notes her numerous awards and commendations, including an honorary degree from the University of Westminster for services to law, government, social justice and international affairs.
Among her other accomplishments: chair of the Caribbean Advisory Group; Dominican representative of the Council of British Commonwealth Ex-Services League; member of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship; member of the BBC World Service Consultative Group Lifeline (Trinidad & Tobago); Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, member of The Millennium Commission and Patron of the Women and Children’s Welfare Fund.
She has specialised in family and public law and has chaired and represented parties in a number of major inquiries relating to child abuse, mental health and housing.