James Wolffe
Wolffe before the Scottish Parliament in 2016
Lord Advocate
In office
1 June 2016 – 22 June 2021
MonarchElizabeth II
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
DeputyAlison Di Rollo
(Solicitor General)
Preceded byFrank Mulholland
Succeeded byDorothy Bain
Personal details
Born (1962-12-20) 20 December 1962 (age 58)
Dumfries, Scotland
Political partyNone
Spouse(s)Lady Wolffe[1]
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Balliol College, Oxford

Walter James Wolffe QC (born 20 December 1962) is a senior Scottish lawyer who served as Lord Advocate from 2016 to 2021. From 2014 to 2016 he was Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, the professional body of the Scottish bar.[2][3]

Early life

Wolffe was born in Dumfries on 20 December 1962 to Alexandra L. Graham and Antony C. Wolffe, MBE. He was educated at Gatehouse Primary School and then Kirkcudbright Academy.[4] He studied at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with an honours degree in law and a diploma in legal practice. He then went on to Balliol College, Oxford to take a Bachelor of Civil Law degree.[2][5]

Legal career

Wolffe was admitted as an advocate in 1992, then a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 2007. He served for three years as an Advocate Depute (prosecutor) at the High Court of Justiciary.

He was elected as Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in February 2013[5] and Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in February 2014, replacing Richard Keen.[6] Wolffe was the winner of an election involving four candidates, and the first Dean to be elected by an electronic vote.[4]

On 31 May 2016 the Scottish Government announced that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had recommended Wolffe to the Scottish Parliament for appointment as Lord Advocate by the Queen.[7] His appointment was confirmed by the Scottish Parliament on 1 June 2016.[8]

In 2020, Wolffe informed the Scottish Government of his intention to step down as Scotland's Lord Advocate after the May 2021 Scottish Parliament election. Prior to Nicola Sturgeon's re-election as First Minister, it was confirmed that both Wolffe and Solicitor General Alison Di Rollo, would resign as Scotland's law officers.[9]

Awards and Honours

In 2019 Wolffe was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[10]

Personal life

Wolffe married Sarah Poyntell LaBudde in 1987 who uses the judicial title of Lady Wolffe as she is a Senator of the College of Justice in the Supreme Courts of Scotland. They have two sons.[2]


  1. ^ "Legal news".
  2. ^ a b c Wolffe, (Walter) James. Who's who and who was who. Oxford University Press. 2018. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.247296. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4.
  3. ^ "Walter James Wolffe, former director at Faculty Services Limited, Edinburgh". www.checkdirector.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b "James voted Dean of the Scottish Bar". Edinburgh Evening News. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b Forsyth, John (25 March 2013). "James Wolffe QC on his new post as vice-dean of the Faculty of Advocates". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  6. ^ "New Dean of Faculty announced". 4 February 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Law Officer appointments". Scottish Government News. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Holyrood approves James Wolffe and Alison Di Rollo as top legal officers". The Scotsman. 1 June 2016. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Scotland's lord advocate and solicitor general resign". BBC News. 23 May 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Rt Hon Walter James Wolffe QC FRSE". The Royal Society of Edinburgh. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
Legal offices Preceded byFrank Mulholland Lord Advocate 2016–2021 Succeeded byDorothy Bain