Introduction to legal action in Scotland

This section is a basic introduction to the Scottish legal system, it looks at its origins and the current court structure. It outlines which courts hear which cases, what type of judge presides over them and who can represent the parties.

Sources of Scots law

This section outlines the three main sources of Scots law. 

Types of Scottish courts

This section outlines the different types of Scottish courts. 

Civil courts

This section explains the different civil courts and their hierarchy. 

Criminal courts

This section explains the different criminal courts and their hierarchy. 

The European courts

This section outlines the jurisdiction of the European courts. 

Choosing a court or procedure

This section outlines the reasons behind court or procedure selection. 

Open court or chambers

If a hearing is in chambers it means that it takes place either in the judge's room or in closed court. 

Rights of audience

In all courts parties may speak for themselves or they may have a legal representative acting on their behalf. Who that legal representative can be varies depending on the court. 

This content applies to Scotland

Last updated: 29 December 2014