The student-run Aberdeen Law Project has appointed four senior figures to its board.

Judith Aldersey-Williams, an energy partner with CMS, Aberdeen University graduate and former principal advocate depute Dorothy Bain QC, Keith Napier, who retired last year as a partner of Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace, and Ian Taggart, who held a teaching fellowship at the university for a period after retiring from Grampian Police and is now a Justice of the Peace, have all joined the board. Professor Margaret Ross has stood down to take up the position of patron.
Ryan Whelan, an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and now the elected successor to Professor Ross as chair of the board, commented: “I am very pleased to welcome Judith, Dorothy, Keith and Ian to the board. It is undoubtedly testament to the impressive work of ALP’s talented student body that such eminent lawyers are willing to make time to support this project and its work.  

With many in the city and shire feeling the adverse effects of the oil industry downturn, and the services of ALP being increasingly called upon, this support could not come at a better time. I know the students, as they work ever harder for the community, are buoyed that Judith, Dorothy, Keith and Ian have joined the team. Their appointment is a real coup and will be of great benefit to all involved with ALP, not least the deserving individuals, groups and communities that we serve.”
On Professor Margaret Ross becoming a patron, he added: “Without Professor Ross there would never have been an Aberdeen Law Project. Margaret has tirelessly championed, encouraged and supported ALP from day one. ALP will forever be in Margaret’s debt and we are thrilled that, on stepping down from the board, she has accepted our invitation to become a patron.”
Other patrons of ALP include Lord Hope of Craighead, Dame Hazel Genn, Lord (Nicol) Stephen and former Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC.

Judith Aldersey-Williams

Judith Aldersey-Williams studied law at Cambridge University and went on to an LLM at Harvard. After ten years as a solicitor in the City of London, Judith joined CMS in Aberdeen in 2000 and was made a Partner in the Energy team in 2007.  She now advises energy industry clients on a wide range of contractual, regulatory and antitrust matters. Judith is rated Band 1 by Chambers 2016 for Oil & Gas, which states that she is viewed as "at the forefront of complex industry legal issues".

Judith comments: “The Aberdeen Law Project is a very impressive organisation helping the increasing numbers who would otherwise be excluded from justice and I am delighted to be able to do my bit to support it. 

Dorothy Bain QC

Dorothy Bain QC, of Ampersand Stable, is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen. She became an Advocate in 1994 and took silk in 2007. Dorothy has a broad civil and criminal practice and has appeared at all levels, including in the Court of Session, Court of Criminal Appeal and United Kingdom Supreme Court. In 2009 Dorothy became the first woman to be appointed to the post of Principal Advocate Depute. She is currently the Convener of the Faculty of Advocates’ Human Rights and Rule of Law Committee.

Commenting on her appointment, Dorothy said: “I have a profound interest and deep commitment to pro bono work. I was therefore very pleased to receive the invitation to join the ALP board. The project is innovative, ambitious and does excellent work in assisting disadvantaged persons throughout the North East.  It really is my pleasure to have become a board member, and I am very much looking forward to supporting the students as they work to reduce the access to justice gap.”  

Mr. Keith Napier

Prominent corporate lawyer Keith Napier is a lifelong resident of the Granite City. He graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1977. After completing his traineeship Keith joined AC Morrison & Richards. He was assumed as a partner there 3 years later. Keith stayed at Morrison & Richards for 5 years before joining a client in the food industry as in-house Counsel in charge of mergers and acquisitions. Keith stayed in-house for 7 years before being approached to join Raeburn Christie & Co. as a Partner. On his return to private practice Keith created a corporate law department. He led that department for 25 years (during which time the firm merged to become Raeburn, Christie, Clark & Wallace). Keith retired from private practice at the end of May 2015 but continues to take an active interest in law reform and the development of young lawyers.

In relation to his appointment to the ALP Board, Keith said:

I am greatly looking forward to working with my fellow board members and the students in the front line to offer the very best service we can provide for those who seek legal advice and assistance within our community at a time when our City and its citizens are facing new daunting and difficult challenges.”

Dr. Ian Taggart

Ian is a three times graduate of the University of Aberdeen having successfully completed LLB, LLM and PhD degrees there. Following his retiral from Grampian Police after 25 years’ service he took up a Teaching Fellowship at the University, where he lectured in the fields of criminal law and minority and indigenous peoples. Ian maintains an ongoing interest in the rights of marginalised groups in the United Kingdom and has previous experience in a voluntary sector organisation supporting Gypsies/Travellers in the North East of Scotland.

Ian retired from the University in January 2016 and was appointed as an Honorary Lecturer.  He maintains his contact with the School of Law assisting in the supervision of PhD students and occasionally assisting with ongoing teaching duties. Since his retiral from the University Ian has been appointed as a Justice of the Peace sitting regularly in Aberdeen Justice of the Peace Court.

Ian said "I am delighted to have been invited to join the Aberdeen Law Project as a Board member. As the first student led project in Scotland it has not only benefitted a substantial number of clients seeking advice but also, importantly, has developed the knowledge and legal skills of those undergraduate students who have joined the project. It is an invaluable resource for the project's clients and student members."

ALP is grateful to The Press & Journal, The Evening Express, The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, Scottish Legal News and the Faculty of Advocates for covering this story.