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Scotlands Court and Legal System
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Scotlands Court and Legal System


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  • 1. Scotland’s Court and Legal By System By Holly and Caragh
  • 2. Introduction
    • Scotland has its own justice system. Some
    • argue that its traditional values don’t
    • effectively control today's modern society. In the Scottish system you can plead, guilty, non guilty and can also be non proven.
    • There are two different Scottish courts: Civil
    • Courts and Criminal Courts & Procedure.
  • 3. Civil Courts
    • The civil law covers a number of areas such as the buying and selling of houses, marriage and family law, and debts etc.
    • Court Of Session
    • This is the supreme civil court in Scotland which is based in Edinburgh. It is both a court for initial considerations and the court of appeal for most civil matters.
    • It consists of an inner house and an outer house. The inner house deals with the appeals but can also deal with a range of first instance businesses. The outer house deals with first instance cases. This is also where the appeals are heard from the Sheriff Court and from certain tribunals and other bodies.
    • The court of session deals with instances which are more complicated and cannot be dealt with in lower court cases.
  • 4. Civil Courts cont.
    • Sheriff Courts
    • This is the local court and there are 49 across Scotland. It deals with most civil cases. Less serious cases are dealt with here, such as debt, claims for compensation, family matters such as divorce, eviction, anti-social behaviour (such as fighting, not murder) etc.
    • Tribunals
    • These also sit in Scotland and cover a wide range of subjects such as education, employment, children’s hearings etc. Most cases are heard in the major cities of Scotland, i.e. Glasgow and Edinburgh.
    • Tribunals are supervised by the Scottish Committee of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council.
  • 5. Criminal Courts & Procedure
    • Solemn courts cover the most serious cases such as murder and rape. They involve a jury consisting of 15 people and an 8-7 majority will surfice. Summary courts cover the less serious cases and do not involve a jury only a single judge who will find the accused guilty or non guilty.
    • District Court
    • Often called a police court as they are often found in police stations. The judge is called a Magistrate and most are lay-magistrates as they are not paid because they are volunteered members of the public. The deal with much less serious cases. They appeal to the High Court of Judiciary.
  • 6. Sheriff Courts
    • Sheriff Courts
    • The judge is called a Sheriff and are trained solicitors or advocates. It deals with crimes such as house breaking and minor assaults. Cases are appealed to the High Court of Judiciary. They deal with more serious offences e.g. theft, assault, possession of drugs.
    • It can be solemn or summary.
    Solicitors Most lawyers in Scotland are solicitors. They deal with a wide range of legal matters. There are about 5,000 solicitors in Scotland. They are allowed to represent their clients in District and Sheriff Courts but are not allowed to represent clients in the higher courts. Advocate There are about 400 advocates in Scotland. They are the specialists of the legal profession. They can represent their clients in all the courts of Scotland. Advocates are ‘instructed’ by a solicitor. This means that a person appearing in Court on a serious charge will have to employ a solicitor and an advocate
  • 7. Criminal Courts & Procedure cont.
    • High Court of Judiciary
    • These courts deal with the most serious of crimes such as violent murder, rape armed robbery and drug dealing. The judges in these courts have the honorary title of Lord. If necessary, they appeal to the Scottish Criminal Court of Appeal which only deals with cases in which the accused is appealing on the decision of a lower court. This is where the judges hear appeals.
    • The maximum penalties is an unlimited fine and life imprisonment.
  • 8. Round Off of Civil Courts.
    • House of lords. – hears appeals from the court of session
    • Court of session- Outer house- hears cases involving large sums of money. Inner house - hears appeals from Sheriff court and outer house.
    • Sheriff Courts- Hears majority of civil cases, small money claims, divorce and eviction etc..
    • Scottish Land Court- Settles disputes in agriculture and crofting.
    • Tribunals- Settling employment, immigration, child welfare and property etc.
  • 9. Round Off of Criminal Courts.
    • Scottish court of criminal appeal- Judges from the high court of justiciary hear appeals.
    • High court of the Justiciary- Deals with most serious of crimes. For example, murder, rape, armed robbery and drug dealing.
    • Sheriff courts- Most serious offences are theft, assault possession of drugs etc. This can be both summary and solemn.
    • Justice and the Peace Courts- Deals with minor offences e.g. breach of the peace, drunk, petty theft etc.