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Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014

Qualification and disqualification
Section 14 – Qualification for appointment

36.Section 14 sets out the qualification for appointment as a sheriff principal, sheriff, summary sheriff, part-time sheriff or part-time summary sheriff. It re-enacts the substance of section 5 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 by requiring that an individual must have been a solicitor or advocate during the 10 years immediately prior to appointment. Subsection (1)(a) makes it explicit that experience in a judicial office specified in subsection (2) immediately prior to appointment also qualifies an individual for appointment.

Section 15 – Disqualification from practice, etc.

37.Subsections (1) and (2) of section 15 prohibit sheriffs principal, sheriffs and summary sheriffs from engaging in practise as an advocate or a solicitor or in any other business, or being in partnership with or employed by or acting as agent for any person so engaged. In doing so, they substantially re-enact, and extend to summary sheriffs, section 6 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971. The prohibition on private practice and business is intended to cover all private business as there would be an obvious potential for conflict of interest if a sheriff had outside business interests.

38.Subsection (3) makes it clear that part-time sheriffs and part-time summary sheriffs cannot act in the part-time judicial capacity in the sheriff court district in which their place of business as a solicitor is situated. This prohibition now extends to any place of business as a solicitor, not just the main place of business.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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