Scottish bar names Richard Keen QC as new head

Richard Keen QC has been elected dean of the Faculty of Advocates (Scottish bar), beating off competition from vice dean Valerie Stacey.

Keen, until now treasurer of the faculty, takes over from Roy Martin QC, who has stood down after three years to focus on his administrative and land law practice as a member of Murray Stable in Scotland and Landmark Chambers in England (, 19 November).

Keen, a member of Axiom Advocates who was called to the bar in 1980 and made silk in 1993, said: “It is a great privilege to be elected as dean of the Faculty of Advocates. With that privilege comes responsibility – responsibility in particular for leading an independent and effective bar which continues to meet the needs of those who require its services and the aspirations of those who provide them.”

A formidable court-room presence dubbed the “Rottweiler” north of the border, Keen is currently appearing for the family of Henri Paul at the coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed.

Last year he was famously sacked by former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan during his defamation case against the News of the World. Sheridan later tried to rehire Keen for his appeal was turned down.

In 2000 Keen led the defence of Lamin Fhimah at the Netherlands trial over the 1998 Lockerbie bombing. Fhimah was acquitted while his co accused, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Faculty of Advocates will hold an election for the position of treasurer in the coming weeks.