The role of a judge is to interpret and apply the law without bias or prejudice. Declinature of jurisdiction, or recusal, refers to the act of a judicial office holder abstaining from taking part in legal proceedings due to a conflict of interest; or in cases where their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Judges can recuse themselves; or parties to a case can object to the judge’s involvement by making a motion for recusal. This might involve financial interest or a close family relationship. 

More minor conflicts may be declared before the court. The parties to the case can then either object to the judge’s involvement or proceed based on agreement that the interest is suitably insignificant.

Cases where senators, temporary judges, sheriffs principal, sheriffs, summary sheriffs, justices of the peace, or a member of a Scottish tribunal, grant or refuse a formal motion for recusal, or recuse themselves of their own accord, in open court, are recorded for the current year in the table below.

Previous years have been archived.




Date JOH & Court/Chamber Case Name/Reference Motion By Refused /Granted Reason
07/01/2022 Lord Woolman - Inner House, Court of Session P1259/18: William Frederick Ian Beggs v– The Scottish Legal Aid Board and The Scottish Information Commissioner Agents for the Petitioner Granted Lord Woolman dealt with, as an Outer House Judge, a previous iteration of this case where the petitioner challenged SLAB's refusal of legal aid ([2018] CSOH 13).  The Petition was refused by Lord Woolman in that case.  Lord Woolman is of the view that a bystander might reasonably consider his Lordship has already made up his mind, or at least may be prejudiced in one direction, having already decided a different version of the same issue after a substantive hearing.
21/12/2021 Duncan Cartwright - MHTS MHTS/3/21/12/08063/S050 Granted Granted Conflict - Sensitive 
14/12/2021 Sheriff Harris - Alloa Sheriff Court AL20001083 Ex Proprio Motu Granted <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="892"><tbody><tr height="21"><td height="21" width="892">Sheriff previously heard a civil proof involving the same allegations, accused and complainer. Sheriff deemed it inappropriate as they had been privy to information through the civil case that may not be presented to the court during the criminal trial.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p>
26/11/2021 Sheriff Robert McDonald - Kirkwall Sheriff Court PF v John Hamilton Ex Proprio Moto Granted <div>The Sheriff heard evidence in a trial on 24/11/2021 where the accused in this case John Hamilton was appearing witness.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Having heard the nature of evidence from the witness, John Hamilton on 24/11/2021, the Sheriff found it necessary to recuse himself in respect of the trial on 25/11/2021 where John Hamilton is the accused.</div>
18/11/2021 Duncan Cartwright - MHTS MHTS/2/21/10/06006/S1012b Member Granted Conflict&nbsp;
17/11/2021 Tom Russ - MHTS MHTS/3/21/11/07008/S063 Ex Proprio Motu Granted <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="852"><tbody><tr height="20"><td height="20" width="852">Potential Conflict of Interest, since the Tribunal Member provides emergency cover to the hospital on the out of hours on call rota&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p>
27/10/2021 Sheriff Andrew Berry - Wick WCK-A16-20 Ex Proprio Motu Granted Practising solicitor having appeared before the Sheriff - likely to be questioned as a witness during the duration of the proof.&nbsp;
05/10/2021 SHERIFF ANDREW BERRY - Wick WCK-A11-18 Of member's own accord Granted <p>The sheriff has recused himself from dealing with the proof given that there may be questions during said proof regarding credibility of solicitors/former solicitors who are in court every other day.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
19/09/2021 Sheriff Martin-Brown - Forfar Sheriff Court FFR-B105-21 Allan Simpson v John Clenaghan Lay Representative Refused The Sheriff was asked to recuse herself because of previous decisions made in respect of: (i) a criminal matter; and (ii) a civil matter.
19/09/2021 Sheriff Martin-Brown - Forfar FFR-B104-21 Katie McKenzie v John Clenaghan Katie McKenzie Refused The Sheriff was asked to recuse herself because of previous decisions made in respect of: (i) a criminal matter; and (ii) a civil matter.
18/08/2021 Sheriff Fleetwood - Elgin Sheriff Court W. Beaton v W. Hendry ELG-A29-19 Ex Proprio Motu Granted The Sheriff has had previous dealings with witnesses of both parties.
15/07/2021 Marella O'Neill, Justice of the Peace - Kilmarnock Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court Ewan Paterson SCS/2020- 061786 Ex Proprio Motu Granted <p>Reporting Officer and main witness were friends to the Justice of the Peace. Case adjourned to another date before any evidence heard, or witnesses sworn in.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
20/06/2021 Lady Stacey - High Court in Glasgow HMA v Scott Reid - IND 2021-1284 Of member's own accord Granted Lady Stacey wished to recusal herself in these proceedings due to the accused and his family being known to her and living within close proximity of her home address.
12/04/2021 Joel Conn - Housing and Property Chamber - Case Management Discussion FTS/HPC/EV/21/0355 - FTS/HPC/CV/21/0356 Of Member's own accord Granted &nbsp;The Member's private practice represents a company which shares a director and shareholder of Ecosse Estates Ltd. The director was present as an observer at this Case Management Discussion.<br />
06/04/2021 Elaine Munro - Housing and Property Chamber EV/21/0273 - CV/21/0278 Of Member's own accord Granted &nbsp;Member has a conflict of interest as she has a relationship with a party<br />
06/04/2021 Andrew Cowan - Housing and Property Chamber CV/21/0492 Of member's own accord Granted Member is unable to take this case as his firm has previously acted for the Applicant's representative.<br />
26/03/2021 Lord Arthurson - Court of Session Ordinary Action: A321/18 Lafferty, George v George Amil & M Van Overwaele Second defender (M Van Overwaele) Granted &nbsp;No proper basis was stated for recusal on the motion made, without notice, at the bar. Mr Hamilton (the lay representative of the second defender) said only that the judge could not be impartial and that this was provable by minutes and interlocuters. He did not state how these documents demonstrated that he (the judge) could not be impartial. .&nbsp;<br />
03/03/2021 Sheriff Andrew McIntyre - Greenock Sheriff Court PF Greenock v Mark Derrick (SCS/2021-003561) Defence Granted The presiding sheriff was a witness to alleged criminal conduct by the Accused at a discharged trial diet on 25 February 2021 and recused himself from presiding over the subsequent diet of trial.
18/02/2021 Mrs Aileen Devanny - First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber John Brown v SPS Property Management LtdFTS/HPC/LA/20/0241 & FTS/HPC/20/0246 applicant Granted Member recused herself due to her professional involvement with the respondent&rsquo;s representative.
05/01/2021 Sheriff WA Robertson & Sheriff WA Gilchrist - Stirling Sheriff Court B68 - 20 Breach of Interdict Of judicial holder's own accord Granted The main witness in this case is a local solicitor and as the resident sheriff knows him well they would not be able to preside over this case