Scotland's newest judge could hardly wait to take his place on the Bench yesterday.

Mr John Wheatley QC was so eager to get to grips with his new job that he forgot he needed a formal invitation from Scotland's senior judge, Lord President Rodger.

Realising he had jumped the gun, Mr Wheatley paused and, amid laughter, Lord Rodger told him: ''I can now invite you to take your place on the Bench with the judicial title of Lord Wheatley.''

Lord Wheatley, 58, then joined 14 of his colleagues on the Bench at an installation ceremony at Parliament House in Edinburgh which was attended by his family and leading members of the legal profession.

He has acted as a temporary judge since 1992 and will fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Lord Justice Clerk Cullen to work full-time on the inquiry into the Paddington rail disaster.

The new judge is the eldest son of the late Lord Wheatley, who served as Solicitor General and Lord Advocate in the post-war Labour administration.

The latest Lord Wheatley qualified as an advocate in 1966 and took silk in 1992. He served as a Crown prosecutor between 1974 and 1978 and was a sheriff in Dunfermline, then Perth, for 18 years.

Yesterday also marked the last day on the Bench of Lord McCluskey, who is retiring after 15 years as a judge in the Court of Session and High Court. He will be replaced by Mrs Ann Paton QC, who will be installed as a judge next week.