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Scots law
Royal Coat of Arms in Scotland
This article is part of the series:
Law of Scotland

Sheriff courts provide the local court service in Scotland, with each court serving a sheriff court district within a sheriffdom.

Sheriff courts deal with a myriad of legal procedures which include:

Contents

Functions and operation

The legal cases which are heard within the Courts are dealt with by a Sheriff. A Sheriff is a Judge who is usually assigned to work in a specific Court although some work as 'floating Sheriffs' who may work anywhere in Scotland. There are about a hundred and forty full-time Sheriffs in the various Courts and a number of part-time Sheriffs. They are appointed on the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. Until recently there were also 'temporary sheriffs' who were appointed by the executive year by year and only sat for particular days by invitation; this class of sheriff was abolished as being inconsistent with judicial independence following the decision of the High Court of Justiciary in Starrs v Ruxton.[1]

Staffing

The Courts are staffed by civil servants who are employed by the Scottish Court Service which is an executive agency of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Court Service publishes an online map, lists of Sheriffs, and the rules of the court under different procedures.

Organisation

There are six Sheriffdoms in Scotland, each with a Sheriff Principal. Within each sheriffdom are sheriff court districts, each with a court presided over by one or more sheriffs. The most senior civil servant in each Court is the sheriff clerk and he or she is charged directly with the management of the Court. The Sherriffdoms are Glasgow and Strathkelvin, Grampian, Highland and Islands, Lothian and Borders, North Strathclyde, South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway, and Tayside Central and Fife.[2]

The main Sheriff Court in Edinburgh.

There are currently 49 Sheriff Courts in Scotland.[3] Some, in rural areas of Scotland, are small due to the sparse population. Courts such as those in the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow have a large number of staff and can in one day deal with hundreds of cases. Glasgow Sheriff Court, for example, is the busiest Court in Europe.

Sheriffdom District
Glasgow and Strathkelvin Glasgow and Strathkelvin
Grampian, Highlands and Islands Aberdeen
Banff
Dingwall
Dornoch
Elgin
Fort William
Inverness
Kirkwall
Lerwick
Lochmaddy
Peterhead
Portree
Stonehaven
Stornoway
Tain
Wick
Lothian and Borders Duns
Edinburgh
Haddington
Jedburgh
Livingston
Peebles
Selkirk
North Strathclyde Campbeltown
Dumbarton
Dunoon
Greenock
Kilmarnock
Oban
Paisley
Rothesay
South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway Airdrie
Ayr
Dumfries
Hamilton
Kirkcudbright
Lanark
Stranraer
Tayside Central and Fife Alloa
Arbroath
Cupar
Dundee
Dunfermline
Falkirk
Forfar
Kirkcaldy
Perth
Stirling

Relationship to other courts

Sheriff Courts are above local District Courts who deal with very minor offences and below the Supreme Courts. The High Court of Justiciary deals with serious criminal matters, such as Murder, and the Court of Session is Scotland's supreme civil court.

Any final decision of a Sheriff may be appealed. There is a right of appeal in civil cases to the Sheriff Principal, and in most cases onwards to the Court of Session. Criminal decisions are appealed to the High Court of Justiciary.

So far as civil procedure is concerned, there are different sets of rules for small claims (payment of up to £3000); summary causes (mostly eviction actions)and monetary value between £3000 and £5000; and ordinary causes (the rest). These are all published online, and direct links to them are on this page.

See also

References

  1. ^ Hugh Latta Starrs and James Wilson Chalmers and Bill of Advocation for Procurator Fiscal, Linlithgow v. Procurator Fiscal, Linlithgow and Hugh Latta Starrs and James Wilson Chalmers (1999) ScotHC 242, November 11, 1999, British and Irish Legal Information Institute, accessed September 16, 2007
  2. ^ Quick Guide to the Sheriffdoms in Scotland, Scottish Law Online, accessed September 16, 2007
  3. ^ James Douglas-Hamilton (ed.),The Sheriff Court Districts (Alteration of Boundaries) Order 1996, Office of Public Sector Information, March 29, 1996, accessed September 16, 2007

External links

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