New Sheriff Appeal Court

Scotland’s new Sheriff Appeal Court held its first sitting today.

The Court hears appeals from sheriff and justice of the peace courts, removing this business from the Supreme Courts, and is presided over by sheriffs drawing on their experience and knowledge of summary criminal cases.

During an opening ceremony, Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen, QC, President of the Sheriff Appeal Court, said: “The Court represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to create and develop a new appeal court for a modern Scotland.

“Today is the historic first sitting of the Court to hear appeals from decisions of sheriffs and justices of the peace across Scotland.

“I have always thought that the Sheriff Court, with its wide jurisdiction, is truly the people’s Court where the vast majority of the population come into contact with the justice system, be it civil or criminal. This appeal court must develop and demonstrate that the people of Scotland can have confidence in its work and decision making.”

The establishment of the Court is part of the Scottish civil court reforms recommended by Lord Gill. It currently has jurisdiction in criminal cases, but from early next year will also have jurisdiction in civil cases.