The Process
The Process

Am I Eligible? 

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

The Board requires you to also 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.

The mandatory retirement age for judicial office holders is 75. 

For eligibility criteria required for specific judicial roles, please see below for more information.

The Business Management Unit (BMU) undertakes an initial assessment of applicants' eligibility. Should an applicant be deemed potentially ineligible the appropriate anonymised information is shared with the competition Panel. It is then for the Panel to confirm (or not) the assessment on eligibility.

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

• A Sheriff Principal or a Sheriff who has exercised these functions continuously for a period of at least five years

• An Advocate of five years standing*

• 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

• A Writer to the Signet of ten years standing who has passed the examination in civil law two years before taking up their 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

Eligibility for these judicial offices is set out in Section 14 of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014. Immediately before the appointment you must:

  • Hold any other judicial office specified in Section 14, or
  • Be legally qualified (either as an Advocate or a Solicitor) for a period of 10 years.
Whilst holding any of the above offices, 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.  

A part-time sheriff (fee-paid), or a part-time summary sheriff (fee-paid), who is a solicitor in practice must not carry out any function as a part-time sheriff or, as the case may be, a part-time summary sheriff in a sheriff court district in which his or her place of business as such solicitor is situated.

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 (fee-paid).

Tribunals are a central part of the Scottish justice system and play a vital role in protecting people's rights. People can go to a tribunal if they want to challenge a decision that affects them. Tribunals tend to be less formal and more accessible than the courts.
The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 paved the way for tribunals to be brought under one umbrella – the Scottish Tribunals with two-tiers - a First-tier Tribunal, which makes decisions on cases previously heard by the individual tribunals, and an Upper Tribunal that hears appeals against decisions of the First-tier.
The First-tier Tribunal is divided into chambers, each of which hears cases relating to particular subjects, like housing and property or tax.  Further information about Scottish Tribunals can be found here.
The eligibility criteria for appointment as a member of Scottish Tribunals can differ depending on the matter a tribunal is required to consider.  We will update this section with new eligibility critera as it is published.

The eligibility criteria for the Scottish Tribunals to date:  

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