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The court system in Scotland is divided into six areas called sheriffdoms. These areas are: Glasgow & Strathkelvin; Grampian, Highland & Islands; Lothian & Borders; North Strathclyde; South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway; Tayside, Central & Fife. A sheriff principal sits as the administrative head of each sheriffdom.
This is a sheriff court process designed to provide a speedy, inexpensive and informal way to resolve disputes. A claim is made by a claimant against a respondent and the final decision is made by a sheriff or a summary sheriff. Read more.
Serious criminal offences are prosecuted on indictment before a judge and a jury of 15 people. These proceedings are called solemn proceedings. Summary proceedings are heard before a sheriff; a summary sheriff; or a justice of the peace sitting without a jury.
Solicitor & Solicitor Advocate
In Scotland, this is a qualified and regulated legal practitioner/lawyer who represents clients in the sheriff and justice of the peace courts. They also instruct advocates who represent clients in the Supreme Courts. Solicitors can undertake additional training to quality as a solicitor advocate which allows them to also represent clients in Scotland's Supreme Courts. Solicitors and solicitor advocates do not wear wigs in court. For a fuller description of all the work that solicitors do in Scotland, including outside of court, see the Law Society of Scotland website.
Standing Junior Counsel
Appointed by the Lord Advocate to advise and represent government departments. The Lord Advocate is the senior Law Officer responsible for the prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths in Scotland, and the principal legal adviser to the Scottish Government.
Court cases prosecuted on summary complaint are heard before a sheriff; a summary sheriff; or a justice of the peace sitting alone without a jury. The judge must decide the verdict and, if there is a conviction, the sentence. More serious crimes are heard before a judge and jury on indictment under solemn procedure.