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Sheriff Principal Lockhart retires after 39 years on bench

21 June 2017

Sheriff Principal Brian Lockhart has retired after 39 years on the bench, in a unique judicial career.

Yesterday he sat as a judge for the final time, hearing an appeal in the Sheriff Appeal Court in Edinburgh.

To mark the occasion, Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull gave valedictory remarks paying tribute to his judicial colleague’s “significant contribution” to the Scottish legal system.

Ayr-born Brian Lockhart was admitted as a solicitor in 1964 and became a partner in Robertson Chalmers & Auld in 1967. He was appointed temporary sheriff in 1977, a floating sheriff of North Strathclyde based at Paisley in 1979, and became a resident sheriff at Glasgow in 1981.

He sat in Glasgow for 24 years before being appointed Sheriff Principal of South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway in 2005, a position he held until January 2015. Later that year he was appointed to the newly created office of appeal sheriff in the Sheriff Appeal Court.

He was the first solicitor to sit in the High Court, having been appointed as a Temporary High Court Judge in 2008, and one of the first to be appointed a sheriff principal.


Before becoming sheriff principal, he was President of the Sheriffs’ Association. He has also served on the Parole Board for Scotland and was a member of the McInnes Committee review of summary criminal justice in Scotland.

Sheriff Principal Turnbull said: “A judicial career that extends to almost 40 years is a remarkable achievement.

“You have made a significant contribution to our legal system and have done so in a robust, yet good natured manner.

“Those of us who have been fortunate enough to sit with you have been truly privileged to do so. We wish you a long and happy retirement.”

Sheriff Principal Lockhart responded: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve on the Scottish bench. I am now looking forward to enjoying the company of my family and friends, the great outdoors and my new hobby of rail travel."

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