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Summary sheriffs are appointed by Her Majesty The Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister. The First Minister receives recommendations from the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and consults the Lord President.

To be appointed as a summary sheriff, candidates must be an advocate or solicitor in Scotland for a continuous period of at least ten years immediately preceding the appointment. Summary sheriffs go through a rigorous and holistic application process which tests the high level of skill, experience and professionalism required.

Once appointed, all summary sheriffs receive training at the Judicial Institute, which keeps them up to date on the latest changes in the law. They regularly attend courses to build their knowledge and expertise, and receive weekly updates on news and topical issues. Summary sheriffs must retire at the age of 70.