Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1971 c. 58


Sheriff Courts (Scotland)Act 1971

1971 CHAPTER 58

An Act to amend the law with respect to sheriff courts in Scotland, and for purposes connected therewith.

[27th July 1971]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Constitution, Organisation and Administration

Part I

Constitution, Organisation and Administration

General duty of the Secretary of State

General duty of the Secretary of State

S-1 Secretary of State to be responsible for organisation and administration of sheriff courts.

1 Secretary of State to be responsible for organisation and administration of sheriff courts.

1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Secretary of State shall be under a duty to secure the efficient organisation and administration of the sheriff courts, and for the purpose of carrying out that duty shall have, in addition to any functions conferred on him by or under any other enactment, the functions conferred on him by the following provisions of this Act.

Sheriffdoms

Sheriffdoms

S-2 Power of Secretary of State to alter sheriffdoms.

2 Power of Secretary of State to alter sheriffdoms.

(1) The Secretary of State may by order alter the boundaries of sheriffdoms, form new sheriffdoms, or provide for the abolition of sheriffdoms existing at the time of the making of the order.

(2) An order under subsection (1) above may contain all such provisions as appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary or expedient for rendering the order of full effect and any incidental, supplemental or consequential provisions which appear to him to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the order, including, but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing words—

(a ) provision for the abolition of any office,

(b ) provisions amending, repealing or revoking any enactment (whether passed or made before or after the commencement of this Act, and including any enactment contained in or made under this Act).

(3) Where an order under subsection (1) above includes, by virtue of subsection (2)(a ) above, provision for the abolition of any office, then—

(a ) that provision shall have effect notwithstanding the provisions of any enactment (including any enactment contained in this Act), or of any instrument in terms of which any person holds that office;

(b ) the Secretary of State may, with the concurrence of the Minister for the Civil Service, pay to or in respect of any person who suffers loss of employment, or loss or diminution of emoluments, which is attributable to the said provision such amount by way of compensation as may appear to the Secretary of State to be reasonable in all the circumstances.

(4) The power to make orders under subsection (1) above shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, but no order shall be made under that subsection unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

Sheriff court districts and places where sheriff courts are to be held

Sheriff court districts and places where sheriff courts are to be held

S-3 Sheriff court districts and places where sheriff courts are to be held.

3 Sheriff court districts and places where sheriff courts are to be held.

(1) Subject to any alterations made by an order under section 2(1) of this Act or under subsection (2) below—

(a ) the sheriff court districts existing immediately before the commencement of this Act shall continue to exist after such commencement, and

(b ) sheriff courts shall, after such commencement, continue to be held at the places at which they were in use to be held immediately before such commencement.

(2) The Secretary of State may by order—

(a ) alter the boundaries of sheriff court districts, form new districts, or provide for the abolition of districts existing at the time of the making of the order;

(b ) provide that sheriff courts shall be held, or shall cease to be held, at any place.

(3) An order under subsection (2) above may contain all such provisions as appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary or expedient for rendering the order of full effect and any incidental, supplemental or consequential provisions which appear to him to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the order, including, but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing words, provisions amending, repealing or revoking any enactment (whether passed or made before or after the commencement of this Act, and including any enactment contained in or made under this Act).

(4) The Secretary of State may, with the concurrence of the Minister for the Civil Service, pay to or in respect of any person who suffers loss of employment, or loss or diminution of emoluments, which is attributable to an order under subsection (2) above such amount by way of compensation as may appear to the Secretary of State to be reasonable in all the circumstances.

(5) The power to make orders under subsection (2) above shall be exercisable by statutory instrument.

(6) Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, any enactment or other instrument in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall, to the extent that it fixes sheriff court districts or the places at which sheriff courts are to be held, cease to have effect.

Sheriffs principal and sheriffs

Sheriffs principal and sheriffs

S-4 Offices of sheriff principal and sheriff.

4 Offices of sheriff principal and sheriff.

(1) The office of sheriff (that is to say, the office known formerly as the office of sheriff depute, but known immediately before the commencement of this Act as the office of sheriff) shall be known as the office of sheriff principal, the office of sheriff substitute shall be known as the office of sheriff, and the office of honorary sheriff substitute shall be known as the office of honorary sheriff.

(2) Accordingly, any enactment or other document in force or having effect at the commencement of this Act which refers whether expressly or by implication, or which falls to be construed as referring, or as including a reference, to the office of sheriff (as defined in subsection (1) above), or to the office of sheriff substitute, or to the office of honorary sheriff substitute, or to the holder of any of the said offices, shall be construed in accordance with subsection (1) above.

(3) Section 28 of the Interpretation Act 1889 (which provides that the expression ‘sheriff’ shall, as respects Scotland, include a sheriff substitute) shall have effect as if for the words ‘sheriff substitute’ there were substituted the words ‘sheriff principal’; and the said section 28 shall not apply for the interpretation of this Act.

S-5 Qualification for offices of sheriff principal and sheriff.

5 Qualification for offices of sheriff principal and sheriff.

(1) A person shall not be appointed to the office of sheriff principal or sheriff unless he is, and has been for at least ten years, legally qualified.

For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be legally qualified if he is an advocate or a solicitor.

(2) Without prejudice to section 11(3) of this Act, in this section ‘sheriff principal’ does not include a temporary sheriff principal and ‘sheriff’ does not include a temporary sheriff or an honorary sheriff.

S-6 Disqualification of sheriffs principal and sheriffs.

6 Disqualification of sheriffs principal and sheriffs.

(1) A sheriff principal to whom this subsection applies, or a sheriff, shall not, so long as he holds office as such—

(a ) engage, whether directly or indirectly, in any private practice or business, or be in partnership with or employed by, or act as agent for, any person so engaged; or

(b ) accept appointment to any office, except such office as may by statute be attached to the office of sheriff principal or sheriff, as the case may be.

(2) Subsection (1) above shall apply to any person holding the office of sheriff principal who is appointed to that office after the commencement of this Act and on whose appointment the Secretary of State directs that that subsection shall apply to him.

(3) The sheriff principal of any sheriffdom, not being either a sheriff principal who is restricted by the terms of his appointment from engaging in private practice or a sheriff principal to whom subsection (1) above applies, shall not, so long as he holds office as such, advise, or act as an advocate in any court,...

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