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Judge Appointed Lord High Commissioner

Wednesday November 26 2014

A retired senior judge has been appointed the Lord High Commissioner to the 2015 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Sir James Arthur David Hope, Baron Hope of Craighead, will represent the Monarch at next year's gathering in Edinburgh.

Lord Hope (right) had a long and distinguished legal career, including 24 years in the judiciary. He was appointed  to Scotland’s top judicial post as Lord President in 1989. In 2009, he became the first Deputy President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. He retired from the bench last year.

Also in 2009, he was appointed to the Order of the Thistle, the highest chivalric honour in Scotland.

He said: “To be asked to represent Her Majesty The Queen at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is a very great honour.  But it carries with it important responsibilities too, and I look forward to fulfilling them to the best of my ability when the General Assembly meets in Edinburgh next year.”

The Lord High Commissioner is the personal representative of the Monarch, who has no authority over the Church of Scotland but is invited to attend the General Assembly as a spectator. He or she gives speeches at the beginning and end of the Assembly, hosts ceremonial occasions at Holyrood Palace, and spends much of the week travelling around Scotland visiting church projects. In the hall, the Lord High Commissioner sits in a throne above and behind the Moderator, symbolically separated from the General Assembly.
During the Assembly, the Lord High Commissioner is the only person in the UK, besides the Queen, whose car has no registration plate. They are screwed back on during the closing ceremony.


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