THERE'S a new sheriff in town after lawman Joseph Hughes was installed at a ceremony in the court.

Joseph Hughes was formally welcomed to the bench on Monday afternoon.

He comes to the post with a wealth of legal and tribunal experience following his graduation from the University of Edinburgh in 1982.

Sheriff Hughes, a solicitor advocate, was introduced to invited guests, dignitaries and the Greenock faculty by Sheriff Principal Duncan L. Murray, who listed his numerous achievements.

Among them was the establishment of his own law practice, J C Hughes Solicitors, in 1986, with the firm now operating from a number of offices in and around Glasgow.

Referencing Sheriff Hughes' 'extensive tribunal experience', the sheriff principal said: "In 2015, the then-Lord President, Lord Gill, appointed him as the Scottish member of the tribunal procedure committee, sitting in London.

"I am sure he will bring the skill, thoughtfulness and consideration necessary to do right to all manner of people, applying the law without fear or favour."

Sheriff Hughes has also served outwith the legal world and was a director and vice chair of leading charities Action for Children Scotland and Turning Point Scotland for several years.

Addressing the new sheriff, Dean of the Greenock Faculty, Jill Carrick, said: "It is a pleasure for me, as the first female Dean, to welcome you.

"I believe that we in Greenock have been extremely fortunate over the years to have a faculty, procurators fiscal, sheriff clerks, and of course the bench, who have all habitually worked well together.

"Greenock Sheriff Court has enjoyed this reputation for a long number of years, and has been long regarded as a court and faculty that is well run in all aspects.

"I have no doubt that, with our new sheriff, that will continue."

Ms Carrick added: "We are aware of your reputation for hard work and as someone who is approachable, practical and pragmatic.

"These are all admirable qualities you bring to the bench for everyone's benefit.

"I am therefore delighted, on behalf of the Greenock faculty, to extend our welcome and to wish you a long, fulfilling and effective tenure here."

Responding, Sheriff Hughes said he was 'touched' to see so many people gathered to welcome him to post.

As well as dignitaries including Provost Martin Brennan and Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Peter T. McCarthy, he was also joined by his wife, Anne, and adult sons Dominic and Gabriel.

The sheriff said to some laughter among the audience: "I hope now you realise that your father really is a sheriff!"

He also praised his wife for her 'steadfast support' of him throughout his distinguished legal career, adding: "I am very honoured to be introduced to Greenock Sheriff Court and I look forward to working with all of the staff."

Pic caption: Left to right, Sheriff Andrew McIntyre, Dean of Faculty Jill Carrick, Sheriff Principal Duncan L. Murray, Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Peter T. McCarthy, Procurator Fiscal Katie Stewart, Clerk of Court John McGraw, Provost Martin Brennan, Sheriff Daniel Kelly and Sheriff Thomas Ward.