About JP Courts

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Justice of the peace courts (also known as JP courts) are a unique part of Scotland’s criminal justice system.

justice of the peace is a lay magistrate, appointed from within the local community and trained in criminal law and procedure. Justices sit either alone, or in a bench of three, and deal with the less serious summary crimes, such as speeding, careless driving and breach of the peace  In court justices have access to advice on the law and procedure from lawyers, who fulfil the role of legal advisers or clerk of court.

Justice of the peace courts have replaced the district courts that were established in 1975 under local authority administration.  The justice of the peace courts are administered, along with the other courts, by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.  There is no justice of the peace court in the sheriff court districts of Lerwick, Kirkwall, Wick, Stornoway, Lochmaddy, and Portree.


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