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About Sheriff Courts

Dumbarton Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court

The majority of cases are dealt with in the country’s Sheriff Courts unless they are of sufficient seriousness to go to the Supreme Courts at first instance.

There are six Sheriffdoms in Scotland
SCTS locations map.:

  • Glasgow and Strathkelvin
  • Grampian, Highland and Islands;
  • Lothian and Borders;
  • North Strathclyde;
  • South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway;
  • Tayside, Central and Fife

Each Sheriffdom has a sheriff principal charged with a number of duties in respect of the courts for which they are responsible, including in particular a duty "to secure the efficient disposal of business in the sheriff courts of that Sheriffdom".

Criminal cases are heard by a sheriff and a jury (solemn procedure), but can be heard by a sheriff alone (summary procedure).

Civil matters are also heard by a sheriff sitting alone.

We have produced a short film that shows how a virtual hearing in a civil court works to enable business to take place efficiently and effectively. The virtual court fully supports the functions of a live court environment and the film provides a high-level overview of how this works in practice. Virtual hearings are not used for all cases but are effective for some cases as set out in Guidance for Supreme Court users and for Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court users.

For more information about sheriffs, summary sheriffs and part-time sheriffs visit the Judiciary of Scotland website.

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