The Hon Lady Wolffe (Sarah Wolffe QC)

The Hon Lady Wolffe (Sarah Poyntell LaBudde Wolffe QC) was appointed as a Senator of the College of Justice in 2014.

She was educated at Dartmouth College (BA, Summa cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa), the University of Edinburgh (graduate LL.B with Distinction and joint recipient of the John Hastie Scholarship) as well as undertaking post-graduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford. She emigrated to the UK in 1987. Lady Wolffe qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and worked at the Bank of Scotland legal department from 1992 to 1993. While in practice (as a solicitor, and latterly as junior counsel) she also tutored in European Law and in Commercial Law at the University of Edinburgh (1989 to 1995).

She called to the bar in 1994; she took silk in 2008 and practised principally in commercial and public law. Appointments while in practice at the bar included: standing junior counsel to the Department of Trade and Industry and its successor departments (1996 to 2008), one of the UK-appointed expert members of the CCEB Expert Group on European Insurance Contract Law (2013 to 2014), Senior Counsel member of the Scottish Civil Justice Council, member of the Faculty of Advocates Discipline Tribunal (2005 to 2011) and thereafter one of the prosecuting counsel (until 2014), Chancellor to the Bishop of Argyll & The Isles (2004 to 2014), Chancellor to the Bishop of Edinburgh (2006 to 2014), ad hoc Advocate Depute (from 2008), Procurator to the Scottish Episcopal Church (2006 to 2014), member of Panel of the Police Appeal Tribunal (2013 to 2014), member of the Faculty of Advocates Review Response Group (overseeing Faculty submissions on Law Reform), member of the Commercial Court Consultative Committee, member of the VAT Tribunal users group and a Curator of the Advocates Library. She is a trained mediator and was on the Faculty’s Alternative Dispute Resolution panel of accredited Counsel. 

Lady Wolffe is also the President of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Scottish Episcopal Church (appointed 2019). She was appointed a General Assessor on the Court of the University of Edinburgh (with effect from August 2019).

Prior to her elevation to the bench, Lady Wolffe she was a contributor or Scottish editor to a number of editions of two English legal textbooks, MacGillivray on Insurance Law and Mithani on Director’s Disqualification. She was also co-author of one of the titles for the Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia of the Laws of Scotland, and a contributor to Gloag & Henderson (11th ed) and to the Annotations to the Rules of the Court of Session. 

Lady Wolffe regularly presents papers or addresses at conferences, most recently to the European Communities Trademark Association, the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association, the University of Edinburgh, The Faculty of Advocates, the Intellectual Property Law Conference, and the Society of Legal Scholars. 

She is the first woman to be appointed as a Commercial Judge (2016 to 2017; and from August 2018).

Related FAQs

Q.Do all judges wear robes? Why do judges wear different robes in civil and criminal courts?
Q.How do I address a judge in court?
Q.What is the significance of the crosses on judges’ robes?
Q.Why do judges wear wigs?

View all related FAQs

A day in the life of


Judges spend a great deal of time working on cases before and after court and have to do a lot of preparation for the day ahead. Read about a typical day for a judge.