The Scottish legal system

This section explains where Scots law comes from, how it is made and what the courts base their decisions on. It will help you to understand the history of the law in Scotland and how it affects you now. It will also shed some light on how the legal and court systems work on a daily basis.

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England
This content applies to Scotland only
Get advice if you're in England

  • Where Scots law comes from

    Scotland has its own legal system. If you're going to court, or considering taking any other form of legal action, it might help to know what the law is based on.

  • Civil and criminal law

    Scots law is divided up into two main catagories called civil law and criminal law. Most housing problems will be dealt with by civil law but this page explains the main differences.

  • How Scots law is made

    Scots law can be made and changed in several ways. If you're going to court, or considering taking legal action, it might help to know how the law in Scotland is made.

  • How to get legal help

    If you've got a housing problem but can't solve it yourself, you might need some help. This page shows you that there are various ways in which the law can help you.

  • Courts in Scotland

    There are several different courts in Scotland. All of them deal with different kinds of cases and have different powers. This page should explain which court is dealing with your case.

  • The Scottish Land Court

    If you have an agricultural or crofting tenancy and are in dispute with your landlord over any aspect of the tenancy, you can take your case to the Scottish Land Court to be resolved.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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