The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC is the 6th Commonwealth Secretary-General.
She was born in Dominica and was their candidate for the post at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in 2015.
She is the second Secretary-General from the Caribbean and the first woman to hold the post.
- Patricia Janet Scotland was born on 19 August 1955 in Dominica
- Moved to the UK with her family, growing up in east London
- Trained as a lawyer and became the first black woman to be appointed a Queen’s Counsel (QC) in 1991. At 35 she was also the youngest woman ever to be made a QC
- The first black woman to be appointed Deputy High Court Judge, Recorder and Master of Middle Temple
- Joined the House of Lords in 1997 as Baroness Scotland of Asthal going on to serve as a minister in the Foreign Office, Home Office and Lord Chancellor’s Department
- Undertook major reform of the criminal justice system, including the introduction of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act
- Appointed Attorney General in 2007 – the first women to hold the post since it was created in 1315
- Founded the Eliminate Domestic Violence Global Foundation in 2011
- Appointed Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to South Africa in 2012
- Elected as the Alderman of Bishopsgate in the City of London in 2014
- Awarded Eminent Caribbean Jurists Award in 2022
The role of the Commonwealth Secretary-General
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is responsible for:
- promoting and protecting the Commonwealth’s values
- representing the Commonwealth publicly
- the management of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Former Commonwealth Secretaries-General
The Secretary-General is nominated by Commonwealth leaders and can serve a maximum of two terms of four years each.
Former Secretaries-General are:
- Kamalesh Sharma of India (2008-2016)
- Don McKinnon of New Zealand (2000-2008)
- Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria (1990-2000)
- Sir Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal of Guyana (1975-1990)
- Arnold Smith of Canada (1965-1975)