The Scottish Courts

The Scottish Courts from Euan Robertson Solicitors

By: Euan Robertson Solicitors  17/01/2011
Keywords: solicitors, lawyer, legal advice

Euan Robertson Solicitors represents clients in all levels of Criminal Court; in Scotland there are three:

The District Court
These deal with the most minor offences and usually only disqualify under the totting up procedure. However, they now have the power to disqualify outright. Stipendiary Magistrates who sit in Glasgow District Court have the same power to disqualify as a Sheriff sitting without a jury (see below). Each local authority in Scotland has a District Court.

The Sheriff Court
A Sheriff can either sit by himself or with a jury of 15.  A Sheriff sitting without a jury can impose penalties including imprisonment of up to 12 months and unlimited disqualification.  A Sheriff sits with a jury of 15 for more serious cases. They can impose a higher level of penalties including 5 years imprisonment and they can remit cases to the High Court for sentence.  

There are 49 Sheriff Courts in Scotland.  In rural areas these tend to be small;  in the cities they can deal with hundreds of cases in one day. Glasgow Sheriff Court is reputedly the busiest Court in Europe.

The High Court
The High Court of Justiciary will deal with the most serious cases, usually when a death has occurred. All cases are tried with a jury of 15. The High Court can impose a sentence in excess of 5 years.

When sitting as a court of first instance, that is when hearing a case for the first time rather than on appeal, a single judge usually presides with a jury of 15.  Under the Scottish legal system, the jury need not return a unanimous verdict; a majority verdict may be used. The High Court principally sits in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It can sit in any Sheriff Court but usually only sits in courts such as Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, Dumfries, Dundee, Inverness and Forfar.

Euan Robertson Solicitors has successfully represented clients in all levels of criminal court, and right across Scotland.

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