A mother-of-two has been appointed the first female deputy director for public prosecutions.
Pamela Atchison is a solicitor with extensive experience in criminal law who was responsible at the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for the Stevens 3 investigation into collusion between members of the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries.
She replaces Jim Scholes, who retired last month.
Attorney general John Larkin said: "Her knowledge and experience will be a great asset as she meets the challenges ahead.
"Pamela now becomes the first female to hold this prestigious post, one of the highest positions within the criminal justice system. In her new role I am sure she will be an inspiration to other women lawyers in both the public and private sectors."
Ms Atchison joined the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1982. As assistant director, she had lead responsibility for the Stevens 3 investigation, one of the largest and longest-running police investigations in the UK.
In 2007 Ms Atchison announced that no police officers or soldiers will be charged over the murder of Pat Finucane, the Belfast solicitor assassinated for representing IRA members. She said a wide range of offences, including murder, had been considered against a number of officers but there was not enough evidence to bring charges.
Barra McGrory QC, director of public prosecutions, said she was an outstanding criminal lawyer and he was delighted with the attorney general's decision to appoint her.
"I am very much looking forward to working with her in this important leadership role within the Public Prosecution Service."
Ms Atchison is interested in art and enjoys travelling, photography, reading and music.