Judicial Office Holders

Judges' LibraryClick to enlarge image

The senior judicial office holders in Scotland are those who sit in the supreme civil court, the Court of Session, and the supreme criminal court, the High Court of Justiciary. They are appointed as Senators of the College of Justice and deal with the most serious cases.  When sitting in the Court of Session they are know as Lords of Council and Session and when sitting in the High Court of Justiciary are known as Lords Commissioners of Justiciary. There are also some temporary judges who carry out the same work on a part-time basis.

Scotland’s sheriffs and summary sheriffs deal with the vast majority of civil and criminal cases at first instance. There are six sheriffdoms, each with its own sheriff principal. Sheriffs principal are mostly Queen’s Counsel and sheriffs are either advocates or solicitors though many are also Queen's Counsel.  All will have had considerable court experience. To assist with increasing workloads and the pressure of court business, some advocates and solicitors are appointed to sit as part-time sheriffs.

Since 2008, Justice of the Peace courts have been rolled out to replace district courts. In JP courts, lay justices of the peace sit with a legally qualified clerk, who gives advice on law and procedure. JPs deal with minor criminal matters.

Other judicial office holders include the chairman of the Scottish Land Court, which deals with cases relating to property held under crofting law or agricultural tenancies, and those presiding in Scotland’s many administrative tribunals.

Click here for information on judicial salaries.

Use of live text based communication from court

Wednesday, 14 December, 2011

Statement from the Lord President following the publication of Guidance by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

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Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland

Tuesday, 6 December, 2011

Senator of the College of Justice

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New Sheriffs Appointed

Wednesday, 5 October, 2011

Two new all-Scotland floating sheriffs take up their appointments today in Grampian, Highlands and Islands. Sheriff Gregor Murray will be based at Peterhead Sheriff Court and Sheriff Scott Pattison at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

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New Sheriff Appointed

Monday, 3 October, 2011

Sheriff Daniel Kelly QC takes up his appointment today as an all-Scotland floating sheriff based at Airdrie Sheriff Court.

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Opening of the new legal year

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

Today the Lord President The Right Hon Lord Hamilton addressed the court at the start of the new legal year.

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