See the Faculty of Advocates.
Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration
The SCRA deals with children and young people who may need supervision because they have committed an offence. Children who commit offences may be referred to a children’s hearing, which will consider their needs and behaviour before deciding whether to make an Order called a Compulsory Supervision Order. This can last as long as is necessary (but only until the child turns 18) and must be reviewed at least once a year. Children over the age of 12 who commit offences may be prosecuted in certain circumstances, but this is unusual. Children who are prosecuted and convicted of an offence may be referred by the judge to a children’s hearing which can give advice on sentencing or disposal.
Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service
Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
The SCCRC is a public body that reviews and investigates cases where it is alleged (thought) that there has been a wrong verdict, a wrong sentence, or both.
Scottish Legal Aid Board
SLAB provides money to people to deal with legal cases in court if they are eligible to receive it and can’t pay for it themselves.
Scottish Legal Complaints Commission
This Commission is the point of contact for complaints against lawyers in Scotland including solicitors, advocates, qualified conveyancers and commercial attorneys.
Scottish Statutory Instrument
An SSI is the form in which Acts of Parliament (laws) give powers to Government ministers to make more detailed orders, rules or regulations. They are also referred to as secondary, delegated or subordinate legislation.
Senator of the College of Justice
A Senator of the College of Justice is a judge of the supreme courts appointed by the Queen. The supreme courts are the Court of Session (civil cases) and the High Court of Justiciary (criminal cases). The formal title for a High Court judge in a criminal case is Lord Commissioner of Justiciary.
A judge can decide to discount a sentence by reducing the length because the accused has plead guilty to the offence(s). Any discount should be stated in open court. See our Sentencing Factors page for more detail.
One of the functions of the Scottish Sentencing Council is to develop and publish sentencing guidelines. These guidelines will help judges decide what sentences to give to people who have committed offences. They should also help the public to better understand sentences.
Sentencing guidelines can be general and apply to all offences. Or they may focus on a particular type of offence or category of person who has offended, for example young people. This will be stated clearly on each guideline.
Any guidelines developed by the Council must be approved by the High Court of Justiciary before they have effect.
A sheriff is a judge who deals with more serious civil case and solemn criminal cases in the sheriff courts. See also summary sheriff.
Sheriff Appeal Court
This court hears appeals against summary criminal proceedings from both the sheriff and justice of the peace courts.
The sheriff court deals with the majority of cases in Scotland. Most sheriff court cases are heard by a sheriff alone. But the more serious cases are heard by a sheriff and a jury. Civil matters are heard by a sheriff alone. Summary sheriffs deal with the less serious business in the sheriff court. Cases too serious to be dealt with at the sheriff court are heard at the supreme courts, while the least serious cases are heard at the justice of the peace courts.
The court system in Scotland is divided into six areas called sheriffdoms. These areas are: Glasgow and Strathkelvin; Grampian, Highland and Islands; Lothian and Borders; North Strathclyde; South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway; and Tayside, Central and Fife.
These judges are head of each of Scotland’s six sheriffdoms (areas). A Sheriff Principal is responsible for ensuring the efficient disposal of business in the sheriff courts in their sheriffdom. They also sit in the Sheriff Appeal Court.
Short-term determinate sentence
This is a custodial sentence of less than four years.
These are court proceedings for more serious criminal offences. The charges for these appear on an ‘indictment’ and cases call before a judge and a jury of 15 people in Scotland. Summary proceedings are less serious.
A solicitor is a lawyer who carries out a wide range of work both in and outside of court. In criminal cases, a solicitor defends accused people in less serious cases and instructs advocates in more serious cases.
A solicitor advocate is a solicitor who has extra training so they can appear on behalf of their clients in all the courts in Scotland. Most solicitors can only appear in some of the courts in Scotland.
Solicitor General for Scotland
The Solicitor General for Scotland is the law officer who is deputy to Lord Advocate, the chief legal advisor in Scotland. He or she is also a minister of the Scottish Government. See Lord Advocate.
These are court proceedings for less serious criminal offences. The charges for these appear on a ‘complaint’. These cases call before a justice of the peace or a sheriff sitting without a jury.
A summary sheriff is a judge who deals with certain summary civil business and summary criminal business in the sheriff court. Summary business is less serious than solemn business.
Supervised Release Order
This is an order given by a judge as a sentence, or part of a sentence, saying that an offender must be supervised by a social worker on release from prison (adults) or on release from detention (youths). The offender must have been given a custodial sentence of between 1 and 4 years for a more serious offence - other than a sexual offence.
The supreme courts deal with the most serious cases. The supreme courts in Scotland are made up of the High Court of Judiciary (for criminal cases) and the Court of Session (for civil cases).