Twenty-one new summary sheriffs appointed to Scotland’s sheriff courts

Written by Jenni Davidson on 22 December 2016 in News

The largest ever judicial recruitment sees new summary sheriffs appointed to courts across Scotland

Edinburgh Sheriff Court - Image credit: Holyrood

Twenty-one people have been appointed as summary sheriffs role in Scotland’s largest ever judicial recruitment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made her recommendations for appointment on the basis of a report by the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, an independent advisory public body.

Summary sheriff is a new role created through reform of the Scottish court system.


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The Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 created the judicial office of summary sheriff to deal with some types of civil and criminal cases in the sheriff court.

The intention is that they manage the less serious summary cases, leaving sheriffs with more time to deal with complex criminal cases.

In summary procedure the maximum penalty is 12 months’ imprisonment and a fine of £10,000.

The summary sheriffs can also impose discretionary sentences such as community payback orders, drug treatment and restriction of liberty orders and order compensation.

The first summary sheriffs sat in Scotland’s sheriff courts on 1 April 2016.

This current round of appointments are as follows:

  • Shona Gilroy, Gerard Bonnar, Barry Divers and Diana McConnell have been appointed to the sheriffdom of Glasgow and Strathkelvin, sitting at Glasgow Sheriff Court
  • John Cook, Adrian Cottam, Peter McCormack and John MacRitchie have been appointed to the sheriffdom of Lothian and Borders, based between Edinburgh and Livingston
  • John Hamilton QC, Michael Hanlon, Craig Harris, Daniel Kelly and Moira McKenzie have been appointed to the sheriffdom of North Strathclyde
  • Alison McKay, Jillian Martin-Brown, James MacDonald, John Rafferty and Derek Reekie have been appointed to the sheriffdom of Tayside Central and Fife
  • Ross Macfarlane QC and Linda Nicolson, have been appointed to the sheriffdom of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway, based at Hamilton Sheriff Court
  • Eilidh MacDonald has been appointed to the sheriffdom of Grampian, Highland and Islands based at Peterhead Sheriff Court

The 21 new sheriffs, who join the first 15 summary sheriffs appointed last year, will take up the £107,100 posts in March 2017.

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