Scots sheriff who pioneered drug court dies following short illness

Sheriff Lindsay Wood, from Motherwell, has passed away following a short illness.

Sheriff Lindsay Wood who pioneered Glasgow drug court dies following short illness Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

A Scottish judge who was instrumental in creating a pioneering drug court in Glasgow has died.

Sheriff Lindsay Wood, from Motherwell, passed away following a short illness.

After graduating from the University of Dundee in 1977, Sheriff Wood secured an apprenticeship with Arbroath law firm, Clark Oliver, which would later merge to become Thorntons.

At just 24 he was made a partner, and remained so until he became a managing partner at Thorntons in 1998. It was around this time that he caught the catch the eye of sheriffs who persuaded him apply to become a part time sheriff.

He became a full time sheriff in 2003 before being asked by Sheriff Principal of Glasgow if he would like to preside in the city. A role he did until his retirement in May last year.

Sheriff Wood helped to established the Glasgow Drug Court which aims to break the cycle of substance misuse and offending and targets repeat offending for those with longstanding substance use issues.

He went on to help Norway, France and Northern Ireland set up their own drug courts.

Paying tribute, lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “Sad to hear of the death of Sheriff Lindsay Wood. A no nonsense judge, but always with a compassionate heart, who played a central role in the drugs court, that has made a huge difference – delivering justice, rehabilitation & a second chance to so many.”

Sheriff Principal Aisha Anwar of Glasgow and Strathkelvin said he would be greatly missed, adding: “His appointment as Sheriff at Glasgow meant a great deal to him. His contribution to Glasgow Sheriff Court cannot be over-stated. From his ground breaking work in the drugs court to his deep concern for the welfare of sheriffs and staff, he had an ability to make everyone feel valued.

“The high regard in which he was held by all was demonstrated by the large numbers who attended and paid tribute to him during his retirement drinks last year. He was touched and humbled by the kind words and the gratitude expressed for his years of service. Our thoughts are very much with his family and all those who knew and worked with him.”

President of the Sheriffs and Summary Sheriff’s Association, Sheriff Wendy Sheehan said: “We are all devastated to learn of the passing of Sheriff Lindsay Wood. Anyone who sat in Glasgow will know and value Lindsay’s keen intelligence, wit, humour and pragmatism. He was always available to provide invaluable support and advice to his colleagues, his warmth, determination to improve judicial welfare and personal encouragement was greatly appreciated by all.

“His biggest legacy is the drug court, which focusses on offenders as individuals, treating them with respect and giving them effective participation in the process. We tend to take drug treatment and testing orders for granted now but it was Lindsay who introduced a more enlightened approach to sentencing offenders with a deep-seated drug addiction to facilitate change. My thoughts are with all his colleagues, his wife, children and granddaughters.”

Stuart Kelly, deputy head of the Law School, and director of Professional Legal Practice programmes at the University of Strathclyde, added: “Very sorry to hear of the premature death of Sheriff Lindsay Wood. Lindsay was a valued supporter of Law Strath in recent years, including his part in our teaching on trauma awareness. His role in establishing the drugs court at Glasgow was so important, & he made a difference.”

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