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trinitynscotland
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Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: Scottish Courts   Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:40 pm

Scotland has its own system of law and its own courts. Procedure differs greatly from that of English and Welsh courts. Traditionally Scottish judges have been sterner in their view of contempt than their English counterparts, although the 1981 Contempt of Court Act covers the whole of Great Britain. Under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980, it is an offence to publish facts leading to the identification of any children under 16 involved in criminal proceedings whether they are accused, witnesses or victims.

Criminal courts are district courts. Refer to Scotburgh district court. Lay justices sit with a legal assessor.

Sheriff courts: Scotland's six sheriffdoms each has a sheriff principal and they are divided into sheriff court districts. Courts are presided over by sheriffs who sometimes sit with a jury and may also hear civil cases. Scotburgh sheriff court. The sheriff, Mr Ian McSmith.

High Court of Justiciary: Sits in Edinburgh and on circuit. All 21 Scottish judges can hear cases (see Court of Session). Prosecutions may be conducted by the Lord Advocate or the Solicitor General but normally by Crown counsel referred to as advocates depute. Scotland has no court of criminal appeal and appeals in serious cases are heard by three judges or more of the High Court. Appeals against summary convictions are heard by the Justiciary Appeal Court. Refer as appropriate to the Scottish High Court sitting in xxxx, a Scottish appeal court sitting in xxxx.

Civil cases may be heard in sheriff courts or the Court of Session. The Court of Session, the superior civil court, is divided into the Outer House and the Inner House. The Outer House has 12 judges, called Lords Ordinary who sit alone or with juries. The Inner House has two divisions. In the first division the Lord President presides over four judges (three make a quorum). The Lord Justice Clerk presides in the second division.

Court of Session judges also make up the High Court which hears serious criminal cases. In criminal cases, the Lord President is referred to as the Lord Justice General. Refer to The Lord President, Lord McSmith; the Lord Justice General, Lord McSmith; the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord McSmith; or, for other judges, to the judge or Lord McSmith.

Terms found in Scottish court stories include:

Advocate, equivalent to an English barrister with exclusive right of audience in higher courts.

Crown Office, roughly equivalent to the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Defender (not defendant) in civil cases. Depute (not deputy) in legal titles. Interdict is the equivalent of an injunction.

Not proven. although this verdict differs from a finding of not guilty, the accused person cannot be tried again on the same criminal charge. However, a subsequent civil claim for damages by the victim's family may be brought.

Pursuer or petitioner (according to the procedure adopted) is a plaintiff. Procurator fiscal investigates and prosecutes crime in the sheriff court districts under the supervision of the Crown Office. He can give general directions to the police and decides whether an accused person should be held in custody or released until his trial, or whether the case should continue. The procurator fiscal questions an accused person at a private hearing by a sheriff before whom the accused must appear within 24 hours of arrest (48 hours at weekends).
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