Short ceremony as new isles sheriff formally takes up post

Shetland’s new sheriff was officially introduced to his post by the region’s Sheriff Principal in a short ceremony today.

Sheriff Philip Mann has been working in the isles since February, and had his formal “installation” into the role in Banff last week. He will work alternate weeks in Lerwick and Banff in a permanent capacity.

Welcoming Sheriff Mann to the post, Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highland and Islands Derek Pyle told the assembled guests, comprising honorary sheriffs and legal professionals, that he had met Sheriff Mann “in a pub in Edinburgh” in the 1970s.

He cited Sheriff Mann’s “keen intellect”, the fact that he plays a “mean guitar”, and, when presiding in court, he is: “Always courteous, never grandstanding and always thinking ‘there but for the grace of God’…”

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie congratulated Sheriff Mann on his appointment, and said he hoped he would serve as sheriff in Shetland for a long time. He had already made a “significant impact”, he said, and praised his “dignified and assured” manner in court proceedings.

Dean of the Faculty Kathryn Gordon reiterated these sentiments, extending a “warm welcome” to Sheriff Mann on his permanent posting. He treated all who came before him with respect, she said, even when his jurisdiction was challenged by a member of the public wearing a lawyer’s wig.

Sheriff Mann, who comes from Keith, practised as a solicitor there and still lives there, said he had been Shetland’s sheriff “in all but name” since February. A graduate of Aberdeen University, he spoke of his pleasure at being appointed “after a very stingent application and interview process”, to a post which requires a minimum of 10 years legal experience.

With his wife and family, he is now looking forward to becoming part of the community. His aim, he said, is simply: “To serve the court and community to the best of my ability. I’m enjoy it very much up here and am looking forward to continuing for the foreseeable future.”


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