Although Scotland is EnglandÃÂs 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 ScotlandÃÂs judicial system and then consider ScotlandÃÂs unique law that in the future may help serve as a model in the European Union.
ScotlandÃÂs 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 ÃÂsheriff.ÃÂDuring 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 ÃÂdeputeÃÂ to hold court. Hereditary Sheriffdoms later were abolished, but the ÃÂdeputesÃÂ continued in office. These ÃÂdeputesÃÂ had to be advocates of the Scottish bar, and because most of their time was spent in Edinburgh, they could appoint ÃÂsheriff substitutesÃÂ to act in their absence. These substitutes also had to be regular members of the bar and became full-time resident judges. The ÃÂdeputesÃÂ now are referred to as ÃÂSheriff Principal.ÃÂThe 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 ÃÂ£1,500;2. Summary causes dealing mainly with rent arrears, delivery of goods,