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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:

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[hide]*1 Functions and operation

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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]

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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.

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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] [1]


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

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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 asMurder, 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.

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See also

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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

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External links