Judge or Sheriff

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Judges or sheriffs preside over a court of law in civil, criminal or appeal cases – and make judgements based on the evidence presented.

A sheriff acts as a judge in one of the 39 Sheriff Courts in Scotland. They deal with a variety of civil and criminal cases leading to a sentence of up to five years, or a fine.

Summary Sheriffs were introduced to Scottish courts in 2016. They are restricted in the cases they oversee.

A higher court judge (Law Lord or Lady) presides over: Court of Session (the highest civil court) in Edinburgh, Court of Appeal (with two other judges) and the High Court of the Justiciary (the highest criminal court where sentences of over five years can be imposed).

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

The salary for a sheriff is £143,095 a year and £154,527 for sheriff principals. The salary for a summary sheriff is £114,793 a year. High Court judges are on a salary of £192,679 (Outer House) and £219,396 (Inner House) a year.


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Getting In

What Does it Take?

You need to be:

You need to have:


For details of initial training required, see the job profiles for Advocate or Solicitor.

Judicial training in Scotland is overseen by the Judicial Institute for Scotland. There is a compulsory induction training programme for newly appointed judicial officers within a year of appointment.

Getting On

More Information

You will find more information about applying for appointment as a judge or sheriff on the website of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.


Courtesy of UK Judiciary


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Faculty of Advocates
Tel: 0131 226 5071
Twitter: @FacultyScot

Judiciary of Scotland
Twitter: @JudgesScotland

Law Society of Scotland
Tel: 0131 226 7411
Website (2):
Twitter: @lawscotjobs

Lawscot Jobs is the recruitment website from the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland.

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Tel: 0131 248 1817
Website (2):
Twitter: @SCTScourtstribs

The SCTS also has a LinkedIn profile page -

Skills for Justice
Tel: 0117 922 1155
Twitter: @Skills_Justice

Skills for Justice is the Sector Skills Council for the Justice, Community Safety and Legal Services Sectors. The careers section of their website holds information on the careers within these sectors.

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