The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC 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

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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)


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