Justices of the Peace

Judicial and administrative duties

Aberdeen Sheriff CourtClick to enlarge image

Justices of the peace are lay magistrates who sit with a legally qualified adviser to deal with summary criminal cases. They sit either alone or on a treble bench and deal with many driving offences such as speeding, careless driving, tachograph offences and driving without insurance. They also deal with less serious assault, breach of the peace, theft and other less serious crimes.  Their powers of punishment are limited to 60 days’ imprisonment or a fine of up to £2,500 or both and to disqualify drivers on a discretionary basis.

The office of Justice of the Peace dates back to 1609, originally involving administrative, policing and judicial functions. The current justice of the peace courts were created in 2007 to replace district courts, which were operated by local authorities. The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is now responsible for the administration of Justice of the Peace courts, which are organised by sheriffdom rather than local authority area. Throughout their history, justices have remained lay people, dispensing criminal justice on a local basis.

Justices are appointed by Scottish Ministers for five-year periods on the recommendation of Justice of the Peace Advisory Committees.

For more information about becoming a Justice of the Peace click here.

HMA v David Sharp, John Brookhouse and AS

Thursday, 21 May, 2020
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (21st May 2020) Lady Scott sentenced David Sharp and John Brookhouse to life imprisonment after the accused pleaded guilty to murder. A punishment part of 15 years was fixed for David Sharp and a punishment part of 13 years was fixed for John Brookhouse. The third accused, AS, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide and sentencing was deferred to 6 July 2020.

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HMA v Mark Duthie

Wednesday, 20 May, 2020
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (20 May 2020), Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Mark Duthie to an extended sentence of 11 years after the offender was found guilty of a catalogue of physical and sexual assault.

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HMA v Michael Nolan

Tuesday, 19 May, 2020
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Glasgow today Lord Matthews imposed an extended sentence on Michael Nolan with a custodial element of 6 years and 5 months and an extension period of 3 years after he pleaded guilty to attempted murder and other offences involving assault and breach of the peace. In addition the offender was also sentenced to 138 days which was imposed from 19 May 2020 in terms of Section 16 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 to reflect the fact that he committed the offences while on licence.

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HMA v Peter Cameron

Wednesday, 13 May, 2020
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (13 May 2020) Lady Scott imposed an order for lifelong restriction with a punishment part of 6 years on Peter Cameron, after the accused pleaded guilty to 1 charge of attempted murder, 1 charge of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, and was found guilty of another charge of attempted murder.

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HMA v Donovan Reid

Tuesday, 5 May, 2020
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Glasgow today (5 May 2020) Judge Andrew Cubie sentenced Donovan Reid to an extended sentence of 6 years after the offender was found guilty of assaulting and robbing a 76-year-old man.

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