Eligibility for Judicial Appointment

To apply for a judicial office in Scotland you must meet the statutory eligibility requirements.

The Board requires you to complete a declaration of your nationality. Applicants should be aware that the Board will consider applications from candidates who are not citizens of the British Commonwealth. However, if recommended, the Scottish Government may be unable to appoint such an applicant to the office.

To apply for a judicial office in Scotland you must meet the statutory eligibility requirements. Please see below a brief explanation of the eligibility criteria for each of the judicial offices: 

Judges of the Court of Session and Chairman of the Scottish Land Court

To apply for appointment to either of these judicial offices, you must be:

  • A Sheriff Principal or a Sheriff who has exercised these functions continuously for a period of at least five years; or
  • An Advocate of five years standing*; or
  • A Solicitor who has had rights of audience before either the Court of Session or the High Court of Justiciary continuously for a period of not less than five years; or
  • A Writer to the Signet of ten years standing who has passed the examination in civil law two years before taking up your seat on the Bench.

* Please note that there is no requirement in relation to the eligibility of Advocates, that they be an Advocate immediately prior to their application or that the minimum five years standing as an Advocate be continuous.

Sheriffs Principal, Sheriffs, Part-time Sheriffs and Summary Sheriffs

Eligibility for these judicial offices is set out in section 5 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971, you must be:

  • Legally qualified (either as an Advocate or a Solicitor) for at least 10 years and if you are a solicitor you must have your name on the Roll.

Whilst holding a full-time shrieval appointment, post-holders cannot engage directly or indirectly in any private practice or business, or be in partnership with or employed by, or act as an agent for, any person so engaged.  Part-time Sheriffs are entitled to continue their private practice or business.

Employees of the Government Legal Service for Scotland (GLSS) or the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) must resign if they wish to take up a part-time shrieval appointment.