The Cabinet Secretary for Justice today announced the appointment of a new member to the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.

The new member is Dr Michael (Mike) Ewart.

Mike has a First Class Honours degree from Cambridge and a DPhil from York University. He joined the then Scottish Office in 1977 where his career began in the Education Department. In 1991 he became Deputy Director of the Scottish Courts Administration and guided the Scottish Court Service to Agency status, becoming its first Chief Executive in 1994. In 1999 he returned to the Education Department first as Head of Schools Group and from 2002 as Head of the Education Department. From April 2007 until November 2009 he was Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service. Mike is now Director of the Scottish International Education Trust and a Board member of Scottish Ballet; neither role is a Ministerial appointment.

Mike’s breadth of experience, ability and knowledge of the judicial system will complement and strengthen the current Board.

This appointment will run for four years from August 9, 2010 to August 8, 2014.

This post is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £290 per day for a time commitment of 20 to 30 days per year.

Mike does not hold any other public appointment.

The Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland was established by Ministers in 2002; and it became an independent advisory non-departmental public body on June 1, 2009. The Board has statutory responsibilities under the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008. The Board’s role is to make recommendations to Ministers for appointment to the office of judge, sheriff principal, sheriff, and part-time sheriff as well as other judicial offices set out in the Act.

There are 10 Board Members: three judicial and two legal members (a Judge, a Sheriff Principal, a Sheriff, an Advocate and a Solicitor) and five lay members including the lay Chairing Member.

The lay Chairing Member is Sir Muir Russell, KCB FRSE.

These Ministerial public appointments were made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland’s Code of Practice.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is one to be declared) to be made public. There is no political activity to be declared.