Nicola Sturgeon has been legally sworn in as Scotland’s First Minister during a ceremony at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
The SNP leader took the statutory declarations of office during the physically-distanced ceremony, before Lord President Lord Carloway, Lord Justice Clerk Lady Dorrian, and Lord Menzies.
Ms Sturgeon was selected as the Scottish Parliament’s nominee for First Minister on Tuesday, securing 64 of a potential 129 votes from MSPs in the wake of the SNP’s election victory.
During the ceremony, Lord Carloway said that because of the coronavirus pandemic, the First Minister had “experienced more acutely both the great legal and moral responsibility” of the role during the past 15 months.
Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on Scotland’s legal system, he said: “There are few situations in a society which is governed by the rule of law in which the courts will agree, in effect, to suspend their normal functioning. The immediate onset of the pandemic was one.
“The court acknowledges the difficult choices which you and your Government have been faced with in dealing with Covid-19. It has adapted its processes according to statute and guidance.
“The courts and tribunals have continued to operate but in a radically different way, as the strange sparsity of this important public ceremony attests.
“Great strides had been made prior to the pandemic in improving the quality and efficacy of justice.
“The regrowth of a substantial backlog during a period of enforced adaptation has been unfortunately inevitable.
“The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service will engage constructively and imaginatively in developing policy to prevent a return to unacceptable delays in resolving disputes and bringing prosecutions to trial.”