There are six sheriffs principal in Scotland. Each sits as the administrative head of a different court area called a sheriffdom. Although sheriffs principal can preside over any sheriff court business, they mainly deal with appeals in summary criminal cases and sheriff court civil cases heard in the Sheriff Appeal Court.

Read about the Sheriff Appeal Court – criminal


Read about the Sheriff Appeal Court – civil


In addition to their court work, sheriffs principal are responsible for ensuring the speedy and efficient disposal of business in their sheriffdom. They also have advisory, consultative and ceremonial functions as well as some powers of appointment. One function includes serving as commissioners of the Northern Lighthouse Board.


For more information see the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland website.


Read about how sheriffs principal are appointed.


The six sheriffdoms in Scotland are:

  • Glasgow & Strathkelvin
  • Grampian, Highland & Islands
  • Lothian & Borders
  • North Strathclyde
  • South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway
  • Tayside, Central & Fife.

View the sheriffdom map.

Sheriff Principal Pyle 3.jpgwebsite

Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle

Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highland and Islands, based at Inverness Sheriff Court.

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Sheriff Principal Nigel Ross

Sheriff Principal Nigel Ross

Sheriff Principal of Lothian and Borders, based at Edinburgh Sheriff Court

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Sheriff Aisha Anwar

Sheriff Principal Aisha Anwar

Sheriff Principal of Glasgow and Strathkelvin

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Sheriff Principal Sean Murphy KC

Sheriff Principal of North Strathclyde, based at Paisley Sheriff Court

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Sheriff Principal Gillian Wade KC

Sheriff Principal of Tayside, Central and Fife, based at Perth Sheriff Court

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Sheriff Principal Kate Dowdalls

Sheriff Principal Kate Dowdalls KC

Sheriff Principal of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway

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