Cabinet Secretary for Justice

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans, commonly referred to as the Justice Secretary, is a position in the Scottish Government Cabinet. The Cabinet Secretary has overall responsibility for law and order in Scotland. The Cabinet Secretary is assisted by the Minister for Community Safety.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans
Keith Brown MSP

since 20 May 2021
Justice Directorate
StyleCabinet Secretary
(within parliament)
Justice Secretary
Scottish Justice Secretary
(outwith Scotland)
Member ofScottish Cabinet
Reports toScottish Parliament
AppointerFirst Minister of Scotland
Inaugural holderJim Wallace
Minister for Justice
FormationJuly 1999
DeputyAsh Denham
(Minister for Community Safety)
Salary£112,919 annually (including £64,470 MSP salary)

The current Cabinet Secretary for Justice is Keith Brown, who was appointed in May 2021.


The position was created in 1999 as the Minister for Justice, with the advent of devolution and the institution of the Scottish Parliament, taking over some of the roles and functions of the former Scottish Office Minister of State for Home Affairs that existed prior to 1999.

As with the UK Secretary of State for Justice, but unlike some other justice ministers, the Cabinet Secretary does not have any oversight of prosecutions - in Scotland these are handled by the Lord Advocate.



The responsibilities of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice include:[1]

  • Policing
  • Fire and rescue services
  • Courts & sentencing
  • The justice system and criminal law procedure
  • Violence reduction
  • Prison reform and prisoner policy
  • Reducing reoffending
  • Security
  • Youth justice
  • Access to justice
  • Civil law
  • Victim/witness support
  • Criminal injuries compensation
  • Legal aid fund
  • Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Bairn's Hoose
  • Justice reform
  • National Community Justice Strategy
  • Veterans

Public bodies

The following public bodies report to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice:


The Cabinet Secretary for Justice is paid a total salary of £112,919, which is made up of £64,470 for being a MSP, and an additional allowance of £48,449 for the responsibility of being a Cabinet Secretary.[2]

List of office holders

Minister for Justice

Name Portrait Entered office Left office Party First Minister
Jim Wallace 19 May 1999 21 May 2003 Liberal Democrats Donald Dewar
Henry McLeish
Jack McConnell
Cathy Jamieson 21 May 2003 17 May 2007 Labour Party Jack McConnell

Cabinet Secretary for Justice

Kenny MacAskill 17 May 2007 21 November 2014 Scottish National Party Alex Salmond
Michael Matheson 21 November 2014 26 June 2018 Nicola Sturgeon
Humza Yousaf 26 June 2018 20 May 2021
Keith Brown 20 May 2021 Incumbent

See also


  1. "Cabinet Secretary for Justice". Scottish Government. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  2. "MSP and Office Holders Salaries" (PDF). The Scottish Parliament. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.