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A Guide to Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service in Scotland

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A Guide to Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service in Scotland

The legal environment of Scotland is as complex and multifaceted as its illustrious past. The Scottish legal system functions with an exceptional fusion of modernity and tradition overseen by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. The objective of this guide is to provide a clear path through the intricacies of court proceedings in Scotland, touching upon other court procedures. It does so by offering insightful advice and knowledge that aids individuals in comprehending or navigating this system.

The Scottish Legal System at a Glance And Understanding Civil Justice - The Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service

Scotland’s courts can be broadly categorised into civil and criminal courts, each with its hierarchy and area of jurisdiction.

  • Civil Courts: These courts deal with disputes between individuals or organisations. At the base are the Sheriff’s Courts, which handle most civil cases. The Court of Session sits at the apex, dealing with appeals and significant civil matters.
  • Criminal Courts: On the criminal side, the Sheriff Courts and Justice of the Peace Courts handle lesser offences, while the High Court of Justiciary deals with serious criminal cases, including murder and rape.

Navigating Court of Session –  Sheriff Court – Raise or Defend an Action in Court

Whether you find yourself in a civil or criminal court or navigating an appeal court, understanding the flow and etiquette of court sessions is crucial.

  1. Preparation Is Key: Before your court date, gather all necessary documents and evidence. Consider seeking legal advice or representation, especially for complex cases. You can speak to one of our dispute teams, contact us today.
  2. Understanding Court Etiquette: Respect and decorum are paramount. Dress appropriately, address the judge correctly (as “Sheriff” or “Lord” or “Lady” in the Sheriff Courts and “Lord” or “Lady” in the higher courts), and be punctual.
  3. The Role of Solicitors and Advocates: In Scotland, solicitors generally handle the preparation of cases and may represent you in lower courts. Advocates (similar to barristers in England and Wales) are specialists who can represent you in higher courts.

Seeking Legal Advice in Scotland – For going to court

Legal advice can be the difference between navigating the legal system with confidence or feeling lost at sea. Various resources are available:

  • Solicitors: For most legal actions, a solicitor is your first port of call. Complete Clarity Solicitors can advise on your case, represent you in court, and guide you through legal procedures.
  • Citizens Advice Scotland: Offering free, impartial advice on a wide range of issues, including legal matters.
  • Legal Aid: Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for legal aid to help cover the costs of legal advice and representation. Clarity Simplicity does not provide legal aid. 

Complete Clarity – Solicitors in Glasgow, East Kilbride & Edinburgh – Contact Details

Complete Clarity Solicitors are based in Glasgow, East Kilbride & Edinburgh however with our unique teleconferencing facilities, you do not even need to visit our office for legal advice. For a Free* consultation with our housing law solicitors, call us today on 0808 169 7033 or complete our online enquiry form and let us help you.

A: The Law Society of Scotland’s website offers a solicitor search tool, allowing you to find a solicitor specialising in the area of law you need. Complete Clarity has experienced qualified solicitors. If you require a solicitor contact us today and make an appointment with one of our solicitors. 

A: Yes, you can represent yourself (known as a “party litigant”), but seeking legal advice is highly recommended, especially for complex cases.

A: If you’re called as a witness, you’ll receive a citation telling you when and where to appear. It’s important to attend, as failing to do so can result in legal penalties.

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