The role of a judge is to interpret and apply the law without bias or prejudice. Judges have a duty to sit on the cases allocated to them based primarily on their availability, and must deal with them efficiently avoiding unnecessary delay.

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 decline to sit; or parties to a case can object to the judge’s involvement by making a motion for declinature. 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Previous years have been archived.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
25/10/2022 Sheriff George A Way - Dundee Sheriff Court PF Dundee v Abbie Cruickshanks Ex proprio motu Granted <p>The sheriff had prior knowledge of the accused and the accused&rsquo;s ex-partner.&nbsp;</p>
28/09/2022 Sheriff Iain Fleming - Glasgow Sheriff Court GLW-PD116-22 2nd Defender Granted <p>Prior professional/personal connection with a witness&nbsp;</p>
05/09/2022 Sheriff Graham Primrose QC - Edinburgh Sheriff Court EDI-A687-20 Self Recusal Granted <div>The defender is a personal friend. They have known</div><div>each other since university, and maintain contact. </div><div>Accordingly, it would be&nbsp;<font size="-1">inappropriate to hear this case.</font></div><div></div>
30/08/2022 Alistair Brown General Member - MHTS MHTS/3/22/07/03140/S1652b Self Recusal Granted The member was this person's MHO about 10 years ago and after speaking with the relevant convener it was felt to be appropriate to refrain from apparent (as opposed to real) bias.
28/07/2022 Dr Robert McCabe - MHTS MHTS/2/22/07/03016 Ex Proprio Motu Granted <p>The Tribunal member previously acted as a mentor for the RMO. To avoid perceived bias, the member made the decision to recuse himself.</p>
22/07/2022 Sheriff Wood - Perth Sheriff Court HMA V Cresswell Welch Ex proprio motu Granted The Sheriff has a civil case, in which the accused is a party, at avizandum.
09/06/2022 Duncan Cartwright - MHTS MHTS/2/22/05/01736/S063 Member Granted Conflict - sensitive.
15/05/2022 SHERIFF D J HAMILTON - STIRLING SHERIFF COURT STI/2021-000643 SHERIFF D J HAMILTON Granted The sheriff is acquainted with one of the police witnesses in this case and the accused's father is also a serving police officer. The sheriff feels this could lead to conflict and so has recused himself from the case.&nbsp;
11/04/2022 Alistair Brown - MHTS Tribunal MHTS/3/22/01/09408/S1012b Alistair Brown Granted The member has previous professional involvement with someone from this case from around 2011/12
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 />