- Scottish Court Service
The Scottish Court Service is an executive agency of the
Scottish Governmentresponsible for the administration the of the Court system in Scotland. The Service was created in 1995 by the Scottish Office.
In common with the
Scottish Prison Servicein the Scottish justice system this "at arm's length approach" is adopted to prevent direct ministerial involvement in the administration of justice. It should be noted that Scotland's prosecution service the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Serviceis headed by the Lord Advocateis who is a member of the Scottish Government but not an elected Member of the Scottish Parliament(MSP).
The Service is also responsible for the administration of the
Office of the Public Guardian(OPG) based in Falkirk.
Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007will result in the unification of the Supreme, Sheriff and District courts. The Scottish Court Service will be responsible for the administration of the unified court structure. It is anticipated that the transfer of district court functions (currently the responsibility of local government) will take place on a regional basis over a period of several years.
Another consequence of the Act will be the introduction of "Fines Enforcement Officers". With effect from 10 March 2008 they will bring a more proactive approach to fines enforcement. A total of 31 members of staff will have responsibility for making sure that fines are paid on time and if offenders fall into arrears with payment the those staff will use a variety of means to secure payment. Special measures that may be used will include deductions from state benefits; arrestment of wages and/or funds contained in bank accounts and seizure (and subsequent sale) of vehicles. In cases where it becomes apparent that the offender genuinely cannot pay they will be provided with contact details for other Agencies that will be able to provide guidance and help in organising the offender's finances.
Leadership and administration
The Service is headed by a
Chief Executiveand a management boardwho take day to day responsibility for the running of the Service. The management board are accountable to the Cabinet Secretary for Justiceand the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
The Service employs over 1000 staff members in Scotland's 49
Sheriff Courts, the Court of Sessionand the High Court of Justiciary, and at the Service's HQ in Edinburgh.
The Service's main responsibility is to support the Scottish Judiciary. The Judiciary consists of the Senators of the
College of Justice(incorporating the " Court of Session" and the " High Court of Justiciary") and several hundred sheriffs and sheriffs principal who are spread throughout the country.
Court staff deal with a wide range of different cases, from a murder trial in the High Court to a divorce case in the Sheriff Court.
The Scottish Court Service is to assume responsibility for the Justice of the Peace Courts when they are established from 2008. The JP Courts replace
High Court of Justiciary
Court of Session
Her Majesty's Courts Service(for England and Wales)
Northern Ireland Court Service
* [http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk Scottish Court Service]
* [http://www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk Office of the Public Guardian]
* [http://www.scotland.gov.uk Scottish Executive]
* [http://www.scottish.parliament.uk Scottish Parliament]
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