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King's Counsel title removed


Mar 15, 2024

Title removed due to conviction.

Former Scots lawyer, John Gilles McArthur Watt, who was sentenced in 2022 to a period of 10 years in prison for historical child sex abuse crimes has had his title of King’s Counsel removed.

In line with the protocol for removal of the King’s Counsel title, a panel comprising the Lord Justice General, the Lord Justice Clerk and the Lord Advocate was formed to consider the application from Scottish Government for removal. The panel also consulted the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland.

The panel recommended to the First Minister that Mr Watt’s title should be removed on the basis that Mr Watt met one of the grounds for removal, namely that he had been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a period of imprisonment for 12 months or more. The First Minister agreed with the recommendation and asked His Majesty The King to revoke the Letter Patent from Mr Watt to prevent him from continuing to use the King’s Counsel title.



More information on the process for removal can be found at the Judiciary of Scotland website.

The rank of King’s Counsel in Scotland is generally reserved for those who have distinguished themselves in practice in the Supreme Courts. Advocates and Solicitors with Rights of Audience in the Supreme Courts are eligible to apply to the Lord Justice General, Scotland’s senior judge. Before making nominations to the First Minister, the Lord Justice General consults other judges, the Lord Advocate, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and the President of the Law Society of Scotland.