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Understanding Stalking Laws in Scotland: A Guide for Solicitors

Stalking is a pervasive issue that can severely affect the lives of individuals. In Scotland, recognizing the seriousness of stalking, the legal framework has been designed to provide robust protection for victims. Solicitors play a crucial role in this scenario, helping victims navigate the complexities of the law and ensuring their safety and rights are upheld. This blog post will provide a detailed look into the stalking laws in Scotland, discuss the role of solicitors, and outline practical strategies for legal representation.

What Constitutes Stalking in Scotland?

In Scotland, stalking is specified under the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. The law identifies stalking as engaging in a course of conduct that causes fear and alarm. This may include:

  • Repeated attempts to contact or communicate with someone against their wishes.
  • Physically following someone.
  • Engaging in surveillance or spying on someone.
  • Repeatedly showing up at the victim’s home, workplace, or other places they frequent.
  • Sending unwanted gifts or messages.

To qualify as stalking, the actions must be proven to have occurred on at least two separate occasions, showing a pattern that would cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm.

Legal Protections and Remedies:

The Scottish legal system provides several avenues for victims of stalking. Solicitors must be well-versed in these options to advise their clients effectively:

  • Non-harassment Orders: These are court orders that can prohibit a stalker from continuing their behavior. Violation of such orders can lead to criminal penalties.
  • Interdicts: Similar to restraining orders, interdicts prevent stalkers from engaging in certain actions, like approaching or contacting the victim.
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997: Under this Act, victims can seek damages for anxiety or financial loss resulting from stalking.

Role of Solicitors

Solicitors are pivotal in guiding their clients through the legal process, which includes:

  • Gathering and documenting evidence of stalking.
  • Advising on immediate safety measures and legal protections.
  • Representing victims in court proceedings.
  • Assisting in securing restraining orders or other legal remedies.
  • Working closely with law enforcement to ensure that the perpetrator complies with court orders.

Challenges in Stalking Cases

Handling stalking cases can be challenging due to the emotional and psychological impact on the victim. Additionally, proving a “course of conduct” can be complex if the stalking behaviors are subtle or highly technical (e.g., digital stalking). Solicitors need to be particularly sensitive and meticulous in collecting evidence and presenting the case.

Recent Legal Updates and Precedents

It’s important for solicitors to stay updated with recent legal developments. For example, the increased use of technology in stalking has led to new legal challenges and precedents in digital privacy and cybersecurity. Discussing recent court cases can provide insights into successful legal strategies and common pitfalls.


Stalking is a serious issue in Scotland, but the legal system provides robust mechanisms to protect victims. Solicitors must understand the intricacies of stalking laws and be prepared to use all available legal tools to support their clients. Through diligent representation and informed legal strategies, solicitors can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by stalking.