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Richard Keen, Baron Keen of Elie

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The Lord Keen of Elie
Lord keen.jpg
Keen in 2016
Advocate General for Scotland
In office
29 May 2015 – 16 September 2020
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byThe Lord Wallace of Tankerness
Succeeded byThe Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Government Spokesperson for the Home Office
In office
1 April 2016 – 18 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byThe Lord Bates
(as Minister of State)
Succeeded byThe Baroness Williams of Trafford
(as Minister of State)
Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party
In office
January 2014 – 28 May 2015
LeaderRuth Davidson
Succeeded byRab Forman
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
9 June 2015
Life Peerage
Personal details
Richard Sanderson Keen

(1954-03-29) 29 March 1954 (age 68)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Jane Anderson
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

Richard Sanderson Keen, Baron Keen of Elie QC PC (born 29 March 1954) is a British lawyer and Conservative Party politician. He was Advocate General for Scotland from May 2015 until his resignation on 16 September 2020.

Early life

Keen was educated at The King's School, Rochester and Dollar Academy, and graduated LLB (with Honours) in law from the University of Edinburgh in 1976, where he was a Beckman scholar.[1] He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1980 and took silk (QC) in 1993.[2] He was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales in 2009 and elected a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 2011.

Legal career

Keen served as standing junior counsel in Scotland to the Department of Trade and Industry from 1986–93. He specialises in commercial law, property law and administrative law. He is also a member of Blackstone Chambers in Middle Temple, London.

He defended Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, with Fhimah being acquitted of all charges.[3] In 2007, he represented Henri Paul's family at the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.[3]

He represented Andy Coulson in relation to perjury charges.[4][5]

He has regularly appeared in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. In 2016, he appeared for the United Kingdom Government in the R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union ("Article 50 case") where he successfully argued that there was no constitutional requirement for the devolved administrations to consent to Brexit.

Keen was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates (leader of the Scottish Bar) in 2007. He remained Dean until January 2014 when he resigned to become chair of the Scottish Conservative Party.[6][7]

He was appointed the Advocate General for Scotland on 29 May 2015, and stepped down as chair of the Scottish Conservative Party.[8][9] In May 2016 he was also appointed Lords Minister for the Ministry of Justice with policy responsibility for civil justice in England and Wales and regulation and promotion of the legal profession in England and Wales. In September 2017, he was appointed Minister for the Crown Dependencies.

Keen was created a Life Peer on 8 June 2015 taking the title Baron Keen of Elie, of Elie in Fife.[10] On 15 November 2017 Lord Keen was sworn as a Member of the Privy Council.[citation needed]

On 16 September 2020, Keen offered his resignation over the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, stating that he found it difficult to reconcile parts of it with the law.[11]

On 12th January 2022 Keen was appointed a member of the UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg.[12]

Personal life

Keen is married and has two children. He was reported to be one of the highest earners in Scotland, being featured on a list of the top 100 earners in 2003.[13] In 2017, Keen was charged with contravening section two of the Firearms Act 1968 by failing to safely secure a shotgun,[14] to which he pleaded guilty and was fined the sum of £1,000.[15][16]. A hearing of the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service in 2019 found that the offence constituted a breach of standards, but did not amount to professional misconduct[17].


  1. ^ 'KEEN OF ELIE', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017
  2. ^ "Richard S. Keen Q.C.: Building & Construction, Commercial, Constitutional, Judicial Review, Oil & Gas". The Faculty of Advocates. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Scottish bar names Richard Keen QC as new head". The Lawyer. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Andy Coulson appears in court on perjury charge", BBC News (Glasgow and West Scotland), 18 June 2013
  5. ^ "Andy Coulson appears in court on perjury charge", The Herald (Glasgow), 18 June 2013
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Keen is new Dean : News : The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland
  8. ^ "Advocate General for Scotland appointed - Press releases - GOV.UK". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Richard Keen QC becomes new Advocate General". 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  10. ^ "No. 61254". The London Gazette. 12 June 2015. p. 10852.
  11. ^ "Law officer offers resignation over Brexit bill". BBC News. 16 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Membership of the UK Delegation". UK Parliament Website. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  13. ^ "Who earns what - part 2 - Top stories". 18 September 2003. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  14. ^ BBC News. "Advocate General Richard Keen charged with firearms offence".
  15. ^ "Advocate General Richard Keen fined £1,000 over firearms offence". Scottish Legal News.
  16. ^ BBC News. "Advocate General Richard Keen charged with firearms offence".
  17. ^ BBC News. "Advocate General cleared of firearms misconduct claim".
Legal offices
Preceded by Advocate General for Scotland
2015 – 2020
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Keen of Elie
Followed by
The Lord Blunkett