A Conservative barrister peer renowned for his aggressive courtroom manner has been handed the civil justice brief at the Ministry of Justice.

Lord Keen of Elie QC (Richard Keen, pictured), dubbed The Rottweiler by the Scottish media, was appointed a justice minister earlier this week and will serve as MoJ spokesperson for the Lords.

The department today confirmed that his responsibilities will also include claims management regulation, legal services regulation and relations with the legal profession.

His brief is expected to be busy in the coming months, with regulation, civil court fees and personal injury reform all requiring attention. He will represent the UK legal services sector in September at the International Bar Association conference in Washington DC. 

A former chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, Keen was a standing junior counsel to the DTI in Scotland from 1986 to 1993 and was appointed QC in 1993.

He has been regularly instructed in the Commercial Court, in the Inner House (the Court of Appeal in Scotland) and in the UK Supreme Court. He became a member of the Bar of England and Wales in 2009.

His brief and position in the second chamber in effect sees him directly replacing Lord Faulks, who left the government last week.

Meanwhile Sir Oliver Heald will take responsibility in the new administration for legal aid, including the Legal Aid Agency, courts and tribunals and court reform. 

His task will be to oversee reform of the criminal justice system, the modernisation of courts and tribunals and implement a possible new online court, depending on the recommendations of a report by Lord Justice Briggs.

Heald will also oversee the closure of 86 courts and tribunals across England and Wales.

His responsibilities extend to the British Bill of Rights, which is due for publication and designed to replace the Human Rights Act.

New justice ministers Sam Gyimah and Dr Philip Lee have been assigned prisons; and victims, youth and family justice respectively.