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Criminal Justice Comparative Different Countries Essay

2523 words - 10 pages

Although Scotland is England’s neighbor, and both countries are part of the United Kingdom, Scotland, to a large extent, has a separate judicial system and a separate law. This paper will first examine Scotland’s judicial system and then consider Scotland’s unique law that in the future may help serve as a model in the European Union.Scotland’s Judicial SystemThe Scottish court that has been described both as the most generally useful and important civil court, and as the most practically important of Scottish courts is the Sheriff Court. Scotland is divided into six Sheriffdoms, each Sheriffdom having a Sheriff Principal who not only hears appeals in civil manners, but also is responsible for the conduct of the courts. The six Sheriffdoms have a total of 49 Sheriff Courts, and in each Sheriff Court most cases are heard by a judge called a “sheriff.”During the reign of David I in the twelfth century, the king appointed sheriffs as judges and administrators; these sheriffs held Sheriff Courts to administer justice. For a time, the office of sheriff was hereditary, and a sheriff customarily appointed a “depute” to hold court. Hereditary Sheriffdoms later were abolished, but the “deputes” continued in office. These “deputes” had to be advocates of the Scottish bar, and because most of their time was spent in Edinburgh, they could appoint “sheriff substitutes” to act in their absence. These substitutes also had to be regular members of the bar and became full-time resident judges. The “deputes” now are referred to as “Sheriff Principal.”The three main categories of work of the Sheriff courts are: civil, criminal, and commissary. Three different types of civil cases in Sheriff Courts are:1.Ordinary actions dealing mainly with divorce, children, property disputes, and claims over £1,500;2.Summary causes dealing mainly with rent arrears, delivery of goods, and debts between £750 and £1,500; and3.Small claims dealing mainly with debts of less then £750.Other civil matters dealt with by Sheriff Courts include adoption, bankruptcies, simplified divorces, and fatal accident inquiries.In addition to wide civil jurisdiction, Sheriff Courts have wide criminal jurisdiction that extends to all but the most serious crimes committed in the Sheriffdom. Criminal cases can be brought under either solemn or summary procedure: solemn procedure is used in cases where a sentence may exceed three months in prison or a fine of more than £5,000; summary procedure is mainly used for less serious cases where sentences ordinarily are limited to three months or less. Cases involving solemn procedure are heard before a sheriff and a jury, but cases involving summary procedure are heard by a sheriff without a jury.The commissary work of a sheriff court mainly concerns disposal of a deceased person’s estate. If the estate has a gross value not exceeding...

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