Comparative law and justice/Scotland

Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project

Basic Information


Scotland's landmass stretches over 78,772km2. Which is essentially 30,414sq miles. Scotland sits on the Atlantic Ocean as well as the neighboring North Sea. Scotland is the neighbor of England and Northern Ireland. Nine regions make up Scotland as a whole. Scotland's highest mountain goes by the name of Ben Nevis, measuring at 1344m, along with two other mountains named Ben Macdui and Braeriach measuring from 1309m and 1296m.

Loch Lomond

Scotland contains many Lochs, Loch Lomond is the largest measuring at 56sq miles. Five major rivers run throughout Scotland, River Tay being the largest measuring at 193km. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh, which consists of 446,110 people.

The Scott Monument located in Edinburgh

Glasgow, however, is Scotland's largest city consisting of 577,980 people. Scotland's total population includes 5,168,500 (2008 estimate). The estimated growth rate for migration to Scotland is about 4.1 migrants per 1,000. The population grows at least 0.4% a year.[1] A statistical report of Scotland, done on 30 June 2008, shows that the female population outweighs the male population. The number of females living in Scotland would be 2,668,295 and the number of males living in Scotland add up to 2,500,205.[2]

There are three main languages spoken in Scotland. The first being Scottish English, which is predominantly used by the population, next to Gaelic. Scottish English doesn't differ much from the way people in America speak or the way Australians speak. Of course with different types of accents come different ways of pronouncing words,in general the language is the same. However, there are some subtle differences in the ways that some sentences are formed. For example, "Other phrases, though using internationally recognizable English words, reveal their Scottishness not just by accent but by grammar. Scots, for example, will say 'Are you not going?' or 'Are you no going?' rather than 'Aren't you going?' And 'I'm away to my bed' often replaces 'I'm going to bed.'. With languages come different traditions and history. Scottish English contains some phrases that have separate meanings from what any other language would consider. For example, "Some Scottish words and expressions are used and understood across virtually the whole country. Among them are: dinnae, cannae, willnae (don't, can't, won't), wee (small), aye (yes), ken (know), greet (weep), kirk (church), breeks (pants), lassie (girl), bairn (child), flit (move from one home to another), bonny (pretty), chap (knock), and bide (stay)."[3] Scotland is a very broad area and because there are so many different regions different languages survive in different areas. There are two more languages that are used throughout Scotland, the first being Scots and the second being Scottish Gaelic. Scots is "a closely related language used or understood by the majority of the population", while Scottish Gaelic is "the Celtic language traditionally associated with the Highlands and Islands. Scottish Gaelic is closely related to Irish. Over the centuries it has been pushed further and further to the north-west and the Western Isles, but is now enjoying a revival with more support from the public and from government, especially in education."[4] According to the 2001 UK Census there were about 58,650 people who spoke Gaelic and English.[5]

Just like any other country Scotland is made up of many ethnic groups and religions. In 2006 the numbers were drawn and it was said that about 100,000 people in the population were of ethnic origin. Which increased about 62.3% over the last decade. "The largest non-white group in Scotland is people of Pakistani origin, with 31,793 people- two thirds of 1% (0.63%)" and the "second largest non-white group in Scotland is people of Chinese origin- 16,310 people- one third of 1% (0.3%)."[6] A census done in 2001 painted a picture as to just how diverse Scotland really is. "1.13% of 279, 480 in Central Scotland are of black and ethnic minority communities with Pakistan being the highest (0.4%), followed by the Chinese (0.16%). A breakdown of these across the three local authority areas is; Clackmannanshire 0.84 %( 404), Falkirk 1.03 %( 1,495), and Stirling 1.5 %( 1,293). National percent of people from minority ethnic communities is 2.01%." The ethnic population in Scotland are predominantly younger than the white population. [7]

Scotland contains many different religions, however there are seven religions that seem to preside over the land. Scotland's dominant religion, as of today, is Christianity. Although Christianity is the general name for the religion the people of Scotland call the protestant version in Scotland, "Church of Scotland".

St. Giles, Edinburgh

A 2001 census done in Scotland stated that 65% of the population is Christian. The 2001 census also tallied up the percentages of religions in the Scotland population. "The 2001 census asked those living in Scotland to state their religious affiliations. 42.4% said "Church of Scotland"; 27.5% said "no religion"; 15.9% said "Roman Catholic"; 6.8% said "other Christian"; 5.5% did not state their religion; 0.8% said "Islam"; 0.5% said "other religion"; and 0.1% said each of "Buddhism", "Sikhism", "Judaism", and "Hinduism".[8]

Brief History


Around 79-80 Ad, Romans traveled North with the idea that they wanted to take control of a tribe called Calendonii. The Calendonii settled North of the Highland line. During this time no land on this particular part of the island was "conquered or occupied" by the Romans. The Romans believed that the Calendonii tribe was a real threat and decided to build two walls and have their soldiers guard these two walls. Hadrians wall ran across the North of England and the second wall was the Antonine wall.[9] "By AD 500, however, a clear ethnic pattern had become more or less established in the country that is now Scotland. North of the Highland line, occupying about half the total area of the territory, were the warlike and suspicious Picts. In Argyll, on the West Coast, were the Scots and one or two Celts from other tribes, all of them speaking the Goedelic (Irish) form of Gaelic. To the South, in Strathclyde and Galloway, were the Britons, who spoke a Brythonic (Welsh) form of Gaelic. In Galloway also, where St Ninian had established a Christian church late in the fourth century, was a pocket of Picts. Lastly, in the Southeast sector of what is now Scotland, but known as ‘Lothian’, were the Angles. Lothian (named after a Pictish King, Loth) at that time formed the northern part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, which stretched from the river Humber in England to the River Forth in Scotland."[10] During this time Scots and Britons were both practicing Christianity. In 685 the Pictish and the Northumbrian kingdoms fought a bloody battle at Nechtansmere. The Picts won the bloody battle, setting up two major consequences. " First, Northumbria’s hold over Lothian was gravely weakened, secondly the centre of power in England shifted from Northumbria to the south of the country. Thus a victory achieved 1,300 years ago by a remote Scottish tribe, whose very language has vanished practically without trace, changed the course of history in these islands."[11] People have been living in Scotland for 10,000 years. Formed by the control over Picland in the 840s, Scotland remained an independent land for the next 900 years. However, it was common for Scotland to engage in violence with its neighboring territories. For hundreds of years conflicts would surface mainly because of religion. "500 years of conflict with England was only part of a very violent history that also saw three centuries of conflict with the Norse, repeated conflict between lowland and highland Scotland, constant conflict between Highland clans, multi-dimensional conflict over religion, and a series of conflicts over the succession to the Scottish crown. A tangible reminder of this turbulent history lies in the literally thousands of castles and tower houses built here, many of which remain on view in forms that range from partial ruins to magnificent palaces."[12]

In 1603 a decision was made that would bring England and Scotland together.

King James VI

The king of Scotland, James VI, also became the king of England. This act combined both the crown of England and the crown of Scotland into one. 1707 marked itself as the year Scotland gave up its independent Parliament by accepting an Act of Union with England. For the next hundred years or so Scotland and England were joined together but kept their separate legal and education systems. "During this period its economy was transformed, largely through access to the British Empire, an Empire in which Scots played a disproportionately large role, with Glasgow becoming known as the "Second city of the Empire". Yet increasingly during the 1900s many in Scotland still sought a greater say in the control of our own affairs."[13]

In 1999 the Scottish Parliament gained some power after disappearing for 192 years. They gained more power over domestic issues facing their own people. In 2007, 300 years after the Act of Union, the Scots elected a National Party into power. However, expectations of an independent Scotland were not made. This was a major step the Scots took in terms of their own government. This decision surely showed that they had faith in a government that did not have to be combined with England. The people of Scotland gave trust to their government and its ability to run the country. [14]

Economic Development, Health, and Education


Economic Development

  • Gross Domestic Product(£=Millions/GVA):
    • Aerospace: £410
    • Chemical £2140
    • Construction: £6400
    • Electronics: £878
    • Financial Services: £7000
    • Food & Drink: £3152
    • Whiskey Spirits: £1710
    • Retail: £5300
    • Ship Building: £440
    • Textiles: £416
    • Tourism: £4100[15]

Scotland's top five export industries include Food&Drink £4.6, Chemicals £2.2, Wholesale, Retail & Accommodation £1.9, Business Services £1.9, and Office Machinery at £1.2(£=Billions).[16]

  • Scotland has five top export destinations shown below in order:
  1. United States of America
  2. France
  3. Netherlands
  4. Germany
  5. Erie[17]

Scotland's economy has a big place for export industries. A good amount of money for the economy comes from the export industries Scotland has with many other countries. After finding oil in Scotland the economic progress got even better. After WWII, the export/import industries grew quickly, North America being the biggest location for export.[18] When it comes to Scotland's GDP per capita it is the fourth highest ranked in the United Kingdom. In 2002 this stood at £15,523 or 86% of the average for United Kingdom.[19]

Health and Education




Life Expectancies When it comes to males in Scotland who are born between 2006-2008 their life expectancy is around the age of 75, whereas ten years ago they would only life around the age of 72.4. Females live for a slightly longer period of time. Females born between 2006-2008 are expected to live around the age of 79.9, an increase from ten years ago when they would only live around 78.1 years. Although the numbers are higher than ten years ago the rates are still lower than the UK average of 77.3 for males and 81.1 for females.[20]Live Births Males:30,571-Females: 29,470 Infant Mortality Rate Number:252-Rate4:4.2 Still Births Number:325-Rate³:5.4 Neonatal Deaths Number:167-Rate4:2.8 Perinatal Deaths Number:446-Rate³:7.4 Deaths Males: 26,504- Females: 29,195[21]



Literacy Attainment as a Whole: The Literacy rate in all of Scotland ranks around the 99 percentile, over the age of 15.[22]

"The Commission found that around 1 million, or one in five, Scots had problems with literacy, with 39% of men and 36% of women of working age having literacy abilities at a level that was likely to impact on their employment and life chances. They also found that 18.5% of children in Scotland leave primary school without being functionally literate, some 13,000 children a year at current population levels."[23] Scotland has Sixteen Universities, University of St. Andrews beings the highest ranked in Scotland and ranked in the top five of the UK.

University of St.Andrews
  • Aberdeen
  • Abertay
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Napier
  • Glasgow
  • Glasgow Caledonian
  • Heriot-Watt
  • Highlands and Islands
  • Paisley
  • Queen Margaret University

- Edinburgh

  • Robert Gordon - Aberdeen
  • St Andrews
  • Stirling
  • Strathclyde
  • West of Scotland[24]



The leader of the Scottish government is Alex Salmond(MP/MSP)who is the first minister for Scotland. Structure Cabinet government: The first minister leads the cabinet and selects five cabinet secretaries, each representing one portfolio such as finance and sustainable growth. Budget: 31 Billion. Location:St. Andrews House, Edinburgh. Political Party:Scottish National Party Minority Administration. There are ten ministers who are not in the cabinet, who each report to a cabinet secretary, and two law officers who are non political.[25] Scottish Civil Service: The civil service helps develop and implement policies and delivering public services. Sir John Elvidge is the permanent secretary and leader of the civil service branch. There are five general directors and five thousand employed. The agencies were established by ministers as a part of the Executive Department or as Departments in their own right. They carry out certain discrete areas of work. Agencies are staffed by civil servants, there are seventeen agencies. Scotland has a contributing Parliament to its government. It was established in 1999 and is a separate organization from the government itself. In the Parliament there are Cabinet Secretaries who are Ministers chosen by one particular political party or political parties who hold a majority of seats in the parliament. The Parliament can pass laws on devolved issues and scrutinies the work of the Scottish Government. Devolved Powers:

Health Police and Fire
Educating & Training The Environment
Local Government Natural & Built Heritage
Social Work Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries
Housing Sport and The Arts
Planning Statistics
Tourism Transport
Economic Development Law & Home Affairs

The parliament can vary the basic rate of the income tax by three pence in the pound. The Scottish parliament is represented in the UK parliament by fifty nine members. Alex Fergusson is the presiding officer of the Parliament. There are one hundred and twenty nine members of the Scottish parliament. The Scottish parliament is located in Holyrod, Edinburgh.Political Parties: 47 Scottish National Party, 46 labour, 16 Conservative, 16 Liberal Democrates, 2 Greens, 1 Independent, 1 Presiding Officer(Elected as Conservative). First ministers question time, executive debate, business motion, meetings include audit justice and health. Four Key Principles

  • Sharing Power
  • Accountability
  • Openness, Accessibility and Participation
  • Promoting Equal Opportunity [27]



"The Scottish Government is responsible for Local Government Elections in Scotland and Scottish Ministers issue rules for the way they are conducted. Elections are held to elect Councilors to 32 unitary local authorities in Scotland. The next Local Government Election will be held in 2012. Aberdeenshire Council has 68 Councilors who cover 19 electoral wards. Since 3 May 2007, Councilors have been elected through the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system which allows voters to express a preference for more than one candidate."[28] Parliamentary Elections: There are one hundred and twenty nine elected members in the Scottish Parliament. Seventy three are constituency members and fifty six are list members. The AMS(Additional Member System) is used during elections, this is where each voter has two votes. One vote is used to elect a constituency MSP using the first past the post system. The other elects regional representatives from a list of political parties. Elections take place every four years."The UK is divided into twelve regions, each of which has between 3 and 10 MEP’s representing the area. Aberdeenshire is part of the Scotland region, currently returning seven MEP’s elected every five years using a closed list system. MEP's sit in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The next election is scheduled to take place in 2014."[29]



Like most countries just about anyone can vote in elections as long as they meet the criteria of the specific country. In Scotland you must be eighteen or over, your name must be on the register of electors, and you must be a British, Commonwealth, European Union or Irish citizen.[30]People in Scotland are not required to vote. The government encourages people to vote but it is there choice in the end to vote or not.

Judicial Review


"The power of judicial review of all actions of administrative bodies in Scotland (including the Scottish Parliament is held by the Court of Session. The procedure is governed by Chapter 58 of the Rules of Court. There are no time limits on seeking judicial review, although if proper administration is prejudiced by delay on the part of the pursuer, the court may exercise its discretion and refuse to grant a review. Despite the procedural differences, the substantive laws regarding the grounds of judicial review in Scotland are the same as in England and Wales, with decisions in one jurisdiction regarded as highly persuasive in the other. There is, however, one substantial difference in Scotland since there is no distinction between review of a public body and a private body, which is different from in England, where review is only possible in the case of a public body or a quasi-public body. Generally, it is confined to purely procedural grounds (the official action was illegal or improper), although the court will also sanction decisions which are, in substance, so unreasonable that no reasonable decision-maker could have reached it (so-called Wednesbury unreasonableness). A more rigorous standard of substantive review is applied where the matter complained of touches upon the pursuer's rights in terms of the Human Rights Act 1998."[31]



In Scotland there is no written constitution. Scotland uses the system that the UK follows, which means that there are written documents that serve like a constitution but are not. The government was constantly evolving so the government did not create one constitution that rules the country. The structure is based on common law, statute law and convention. There are three main governmental documents that are followed instead of a constitution.[32] They are as follows:

Requirements for Holding Office


There are certain qualifications that must be met in order to Hold Office. The qualifications are as follows:

  • You must be 18 years old
  • You must be a British Citizen
  • A citizen of the republic of Ireland or
  • A citizen of a commonwealth country who does not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or who has indefinite leave to remain in the UK.[33]

There are also ways a person can be disqualified from actually holding office. The disqualifications are as follows:

  • Members of the police force
  • Members of the armed forces
  • Civil servants and Judges
  • Certain convicted prisoners
  • People who are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order in England & Wales or a debt relief restrictions order.
  • People who have been adjudged bankrupt in Northern Ireland
  • People who have had their estate sequestrated in Scotland.

However this list is not a complete list of disqualifications. If you are looking to hold office you should look for more information regarding your country or state.[34]

With running for office you must complete the following forms:

  • Nomination paper
  • Home address form
  • Consent to nomination
  • Authorization to use a party description and an emblem request form(if standing on behalf or a registered party)[35]

In order for a candidate to be validly nominated they must complete the nomination forms. A deposit of £500 to the (acting) Returning Officer before nominations are closed. The nomination papers must be delivered by one of the following: Yourself, Your Agent, or one of the first two subscribers shown on your nomination paper and/or the proposer/seconder.[36]

Court System


UK Supreme Court: Hears appeals from the supreme civil and criminal courts on devolution issues only under the Scotland Act 1998.[37]



UK Supreme Court: Hears appeals from the court of session and also has non criminal jurisdiction in Scotland.

Court of Session: Outer House: The outer house hears civil cases at first instance. Inner House: The inner house hears appeals from the Sheriff Court and outer house. The inner house also appeals to the UK supreme court.

Sheriff Court: The Sheriff Court hears majority civil cases in Scotland, e.g. family matters, small money claims. The Sheriff Court appeals to the Sheriff Principal/Court of Session.[38]


The Scottish Court System
High Court of Justiciary: The High Court hears cases of the most serious offenses under solemn procedure(1 Judge-15 Person Jury) at first instance. The High Court also hears appeals from District & Sheriff Courts and the High Court as a court of first instance. The High Court is the highest court of criminal appeal in Scotland.
Sheriff Court: The Sheriff Court hears criminal cases under solemn procedure(with jury) or summary procedure(no jury) depending on the seriousness of the offense. The Sheriff Court appeals to the High Court.

Justice of the Peace Court: The Justice Court hears cases of minor offenses, e.g. breach of the peace and petty theft. The Justice Court appeals to the High Court.[39]

Other Specialist Courts


Scottish Land Court: Land court determines a decision in agricultural land disputes.

Land Valuation Appeals Court: This court is for rating questions.

The Court of Lord Lyon: This court deals with matters of Heraldry and Coats of Arms.[40]

Criminal Law System


The criminal law system in Scotland and the UK follows the substantive law while also being both adversarial and inquisitorial. The Scottish system is based on laws made not only by the legislation but by the judges as well. "This position may be related to the absence, until 1999, of a specifically Scottish parliament. Prior to the reestablishment of a parliament separate from that of the United Kingdom, the Scots relied on their representatives in the parliament at Westminster to provide necessary laws. That body never showed much interest in the substantive criminal law of Scotland(Jones,1990). As a result, the traditional flexibility that common law allows the court is embraced by the Scots as a strength of the system."[41] The Scotland courts use the adversarial approach to solve criminal cases. The adversarial approach has many characteristics."First, it uses cross-examination to challenge or destroy a witness's testimony. Second, instead of power being granted to a single position, the prosecution, defense, judge, and jury share it."[42] Although it is the barristers job to get their client off free they are not as aggressive as American defense counsels. Most barrister work alone, they put together a case alone and they present the case alone. "The English barrister tends to approach a trial as something to be decided on the basis of contested facts. The jury should inflict punishment on the defendant only if the jury is sure the prosecution's story is true. But because the barrister has an attitude of acceptance towards punishment applied to a defendant who is proven guilty, some(especially Americans) may see the barrister as detached and uncommitted to the defense of the client."[43]



"There are also a number of tribunals covering a wide range of specialist areas, for example, employment, immigration, child welfare and mental health."[44]"In many cases there is a statutory right of appeal from a tribunal to a particular court or specially constituted appellate tribunal."[45]

How Laws are Made


"The courts in Scotland have lots of powers to change the existing law and make new laws as well. For example, the courts can:

  • spell out ('clarify') what the law says where it isn't clear
  • redefine the law so that it has a new meaning
  • expand or extend the law to apply to new situations (there have been lots of examples of this in the news in recent years in relation to fertility laws and so-called 'designer babies')
  • make an important statement about the law which other courts have to follow (this is called 'setting a precedent' - there is more information on this further down this page)
  • follow or disagree with decisions made by other courts, legal experts, legal principles and other sources of law."[46]

"Very few cases that go to court will change the law. In fact, the decisions made will only affect the people involved in that case because they will sort out the argument between them. However, if your case has some unusual facts in it, or if the existing law isn't clear, the courts can change the law and/or make new laws. They do this by listening to the legal arguments presented by lawyers who appear in court on your behalf. The arguments are put together using the facts of your case and by looking at various different sources of law including:

  • well established legal principles of Scots law
  • any Acts of Parliament or Acts of Scottish Parliament that are relevant to your problem
  • previous decisions made by Scottish courts
  • decisions of courts in other countries (other 'jurisdictions') that might help (these are called 'persuasive authorities'). For example, the decisions of some English courts might be helpful in some cases. The court can also look further afield at decisions of courts in countries abroad in some circumstances
  • what famous and well established lawyers from long ago (called 'institutional writers') have said about the law
  • the opinions of senior lawyers (Advocates) who have been paid to give their opinion (called 'counsel's opinion')
  • the opinions of academic experts.

If there is no clear legal solution to your case, then the court will make a decision on what the law means (by 'interpreting' the law). This isn't a random decision but is based on the knowledge and experience of the judges in the court and also the facts of your case."[47] The parliament can suggest bills to be passed which are either public or private, in order for these bills to be passed there are stages in which they must pass: "In the first stage, the most appropriate committee will scrutinise the bill and take evidence. It will then produce a report which will say whether the committee agrees with the general principles or not. The whole of the Parliament will then consider the report and decide whether the bill should proceed to the next stage.At the second stage- assuming the bill has been given the go-ahead - the bill is now subject to a more forensic examination. The lead committee - or indeed sometimes all MSPs - will focus on the nitty-gritty of the proposals. Usually a number of amendments will be made at this stage, which can change the final legislation considerably.Finally, it goes back to the main chamber for all the MSPs to consider the altered bill. Again, changes can be made at this stage in the form of an amendment. After a debate MSPs will vote for or against.But despite the wrangling, the bill is still not yet a law. It will be scrutinised by law officers to ensure that it falls within the devolved remit of the Scottish Parliament.When they are satisfied the Presiding Officer will seek royal assent from the Queen. It is only after the Queen has given her assent that a bill becomes an Act of the Scottish Parliament."[48]

Criminal Law






In Scotland there are a few key sanctions that are used to punish those who commit crimes. Prison systems are used commonly by the Scottish government. Prisons in Scotland are vastly overcrowded but still seem to be the choice of punishment when it comes to crime. Hanging used to be a common sanction among criminals until the government abolished it in 1965. Police may also sanction criminals to be held in custody and await a jury trial.

Key Offense


"1.9 Murder and treason are two offences for which bail cannot be granted after full committal and additional restrictions are placed on the availability of bail in cases of attempted murder, culpable homicide, rape and attempted rape."[49] Scotland is now raising the penalty for carrying a knife around due to the major number of crimes being committed with knives. If you are caught with a knife police can arrest you and take you into custody to await a jury trial with no bail option. The Scottish executive is trying to double the sentence from two to four years for possession.[50]

Capital & Corporal


Capital Punishment: Capital punishment use to be a commonly used tactic in the European Criminal Justice System. It is said that hanging was the method commonly used on offenders. "Under English Law, decapitation, hanging, drawing, and quartering, or(in the case of women) burning at the stake were reserved for traitors."[51] By the Mid-19th century murderers were the only ones who were to be sentenced to capital punishment. The capital punishment was to be done inside the prison rather than outside available to the public by 1868. In the 20th century began the debate of whether capital punishment should exist. In 1965 capital punishment was abolished.[52]

Corporal Punishment: In the UK it is unjust to use corporal punishment when in schools and criminal cases. Scotland's 2003 Criminal Justice Act restricts common law defense by the concept of "justifiable assault" of children. It is unjustifiable to strike a child on the head, shake a child, or use of implements on a child. Corporal punishment is prohibited in daycare institutions and childminding in Scotland.[53]
Means of Corporal Punishment: The Birch- a bunch of twigs that were tied together at one end. There are different sizes, depending on the age, a size is chosen. For someone over the age of sixteen the birch would be forty eight inches long.
Corporal Punishment: Cat o' Nine Tails
Cat-o'-nine-tails-"had a total weight of 9 ounces. The nine "tails" were of fine whipcord, each 33 inches long and bound with silk at the tip. These were attached to a 19-inch handle. Contrary to popular myth, they were not knotted or weighted. The instruments were manufactured centrally and distributed to prisons by the Home Office."[54]
Juvenile Punishment: For receiving the birch juveniles would be fixed lying face down on top of a table which had holes for the juveniles to put their hands in. In 1886 since there was no right to an appeal when a juvenile was sentenced to punishment, it was carried out that same day. The courts maintained that they would like the birching to be so harsh that the offender wouldn't dare do the act again in fear of that same punishment.[55]



In Scotland the individual does not make claims in criminal court. The Criminal Procedure(Scotland) Act of 1995 states that due to a conviction the court may order the defendant to pay the victim for personal injury, loss or damaged cause, whether the act was intentional or not, depending on the offense committed. When the court was such a decision they take many factors into order like whether or not payment can be made. You can also gain compensation if you're a relative to a victim of a criminal act. There are some limitations to who can make this claim. You must be one of the following:

  • Husband or Wife
  • Unmarried but long term partner
  • Parent
  • Child(any age)
  • Former Husband or Wife(financially supported by the person who has died)

There is no restrictions for ethnicity when filing for compensation. The crime must have been committed in Scotland, England or Wales. The crime also needs to be reported to the police in order to file for compensation.[56]

Prison Conditions


Aberdeen: Formal inspection in 1997 showed that the Aberdeen prison was over the capacity for prison holding. Remand prisoners were held in a hall, specifically the "B" hall which is only suppose to hold 32 but the prison was holding 59 prisoners in one hall. "Adult, vulnerable and under-21 remands were all held together."[57] Prisoners on protection were located at a bottom area or in a bigger hall, "A" hall. "Which also held convicted prisoners." The relationships between staff and prisoners were very high and positive. "Recreation facilities were somewhat limited and unimaginative and there were no opportunities for remand prisoners to attend education classes."[58]Protection prisoners had less privileges. The proportion of the day the protection prisoners are locked in their cells. The women conditions were said to be "acceptable", however they have little "productive activity". The induction system was deemed inadequate for all prisoners within the Aberdeen prison. The prisoners also had limited access to the showers. Another inspection was done fifteen months later, they found that nothing changed except for a reduction in the number of prisoners.[59]

Inverness: An inspection was done in 1999 of the prison Inverness. The prison has two flats with fifteen cells and an eight bed dormitory. Each cell has a bunk bed where as the dormitory has single beds. The dormitory has its own toilet and shower area. The prison also has one card telephone. For recreation on the upper floor has a pool table and the ground level has a tv/video.[60]

Perth: An inspection was done February 1997. Remand prisoners are 78 out of 456 prisoners. The remand prisoners are held in "C" hall along with short term and long term convicted prisoners, protection and observation or punishment. In Perth there is severe over crowding, the prison is designed for only 145 prisoners and there were 221. In the remand section of the prison there is graffiti, peeling paint work, and very little cell furniture. There was no integral sanitation, "food leftovers were creating health and hygiene risks and there appeared to be no effort to keep the cells clean."[61] The recreation centers were not sufficient enough for the number of prisoners inside the prison. A follow up inspection happened one year later, and improvements were made. They renewed the "D" hall and remand prisoners were moved to the "A" hall.[62]

Barlinnie: An inspection was done May of 1997. Barlinnie is only suppose to accommodate 172 prisoners but there were 269. The communal areas of the prison are generally clean & bright. The cells were dirty, rundown and in very poor condition. Furniture was shabby. "The way beds were fitted together appeared to contravene health and safety standards."[63] There was a shortage of pillow cases and the mattresses were not up to fire standards. Chamber pots were filthy. Walls covered in graffiti and stains with paint peeling off. Ventilation was not adequate for the area in which it was to cover. Ablution areas were not good enough to meet the simple needs of the prisoners, there is one ablution located on each flat. The conditions overall in the hall did not meet requirements. There were recreation breaks and PE breaks however the numbers had to be regulated due to over capacitance. Much of the time spent for the prisoners are spent in the cells. Very little stimulation for prisoners. There are also drug and alcohol sessions for those who need it. "Prisoners interviewed during the inspection were extremely critical of the conditions in which they were being held. They complained about a lack of exercise, the lock-up conditions which prevailed for most of the day and a lack of changes of underwear. (One group claimed that they only had one change of kit per week.) Visit facilities were also severely criticized and in particular, the system of nominating eight people who would be potential visitors but without any authority for this list to be amended.
Scotland's largest prison: Barlinnie
It should be noted if this practice is being carried out at present, there is no basis in domestic law for such a practice and such a practice may contravene article 8 of the Convention."[64] In 1998 there was a follow up with little change having been done. Work began on furniture and bunk beds. Prisoners stated changes had been made. They were allowed more access to outdoor exercise.[65]

HM Prison and Young Offenders Institution Cornton Vale: An inspection was done May of 1996 and found that conditions were unsettling. This prison had single cell accommodation for forty five remand prisoners. Over 76% were on some form of suicide or medical watch. Prisoners on observation are put in cells of two or three without access to a toilet. Prisoners on observation are not permitted access to night sanitation facilities, therefore chamber pots had to be used. Recreation centers include TV and videos or music in each sitting room. There is also PE in the morning and outside exercise is confined to a yard. Prisoners choose between exercise and being locked up. Phone calls are allowed but there is little to no privacy.[66]

HM Greenock: The last inspection was done in 1995. They found that the capacity for the building was 122 prisoners, however there were 181 prisoners at the time of inspection. There were 72 adults and 42 remands that were under 21. The communal halls on all four floors were found in reasonable conditions. The furniture was in bad condition, hygiene was also inadequate, the beds also need to be repaired. Linens were gray because of the poor washings over the years. Mattresses were missing fire retardant covers. The windows have restrictive movement and there is little to no ventilation, therefore the cells are airless and stuffy. The halls are over crowded which could cause the prisoners to become suicidal or to be under medical watch. Between 1996 and 1998 there was three inspections done. The inspections showed that changes were occurring gradually over time.[67]

North & East Design Capacity Average Daily Population Remands Percentage
HMP Aberdeen 163 163 53 33%
HMP Edinburgh 637 650 170 26%
HMP Inverness 108 108 28 26%
HMP Perth 436 446 84 19%
South & West
HMP Burlinnie 943 1008 355 35%
HMP & YOI Cornton Vale 217 200 56 28%
HMP & YOI Dumfries 150 100 18 18%
HMP Greenock 241 224 93 42%
HMP Kilmarnock 500 500 69 14%
HM Remand Institution Longriggend 176 144 109 76%

Rehabilitation & Punishment


The Scotland government focuses on rehabilitation. One major reason why rehabilitation is chosen over revenge is because the prisons are over the capacity limit. If prisoners are rehabilitated they can be put back into society. There are multiple organizations set up in the prisons to help the prisoners in their rehabilitation.

  • Needs Assessment: Helps better understand the offenders needs. This way a classification can be made of the types of intervention needed to help.
  • Education: This helps better understand where each prisoners education lacks.(11)[69]
  • Behavioral and Cognitive Skills Programs: "To challenge offending behavior and offending- related risks, and provide treatment for substance misuse."(12)[70]
  • Vocational Training: This allows prisoners to leave with aspects that could be used for the work force.
  • Work: This gives prisoners(mostly first time) the experience of working and gives them a better chance to get a job when released.
  • Resettlement: Helps prisoners find accommodations and employment after being released.(12)[71]

Gender, Ethnic and Religious Disparities


Gender: In terms of sentencing and prison conditions men and women do differ in some ways. In some cases the Scotland court has punished women in a farther extent then men. When it comes to women many factors need to come in play in terms of sentencing. The Equal Opportunities committee believes that Scotland needs to re-examine how women are treated when entering the criminal justice system. They believe that there needs to be more organizations within the women prison's in order to rehabilitate them and make sure that they do not commit the same acts again. They also believe that women need to be allowed more time with their children because a high percentage of their children end up committing crime and serving time. Committee Convener Margaret Mitchell said this: “While the report’s focus is on female offenders this does not mean that the committee is not interested in male offenders or that it considers female offenders should be treated more favourably than male offenders. However, there is clear evidence that in some situations men and women should be treated differently. The committee learned that women’s experiences of the criminal justice system are different from men’s and that some of these differences may stem from or result in discrimination or inequality. Given this, more action needs to be taken by the Scottish Government and other public bodies to prevent re-offending by female offenders, by fully addressing their needs and individual circumstances."[72] Ethnicity & Religion: The Management of Offenders ect.(Scotland) Bill(SP Bill 39) was introduced into the Scottish parliament on 4 March 2005. The bill states that there is to be no discrimination towards any one gender, ethnicity or religion. The provisions are to be given equally to each offender no matter what race. Home detention is more flexible due to religions. They will take into account fasting periods and times of worship. Instructions for home curfew are available in other languages. Provisions also do not discriminate between able bodied people and disabled people.(pg.15)[73]

Juvenile Offenders


"In terms of juveniles, Dobash and associates (1990) undertook a comparative study of the treatment of young people in the criminal justice systems of Scotland and Germany. The authors argue that in Scotland the specialized juvenile courts, the so-called Children’s Hearings Panels, operate as a separate system of criminal justice that is mostly inspired by a therapeutic and paternalistic ideology which puts emphasis on a rehabilitative and caring approach. But the Scottish juvenile justice system also imposes prison sentences in correctional facilities that emphasize work, military drill and physical training."[74]

Presumption of Innocence


In Scotland each suspect is innocent until proven guilty. In the courtroom each defendant has the right to remain silent while their case is proceeding. While the suspect may waive their right to speak the jury is not to take this as an admittance of guilt.[75]

Liability & Social Insurance


Liability: The Scottish Government does not allow punitive damages. "Damages are assessed by reference to the loss and injury sustained."[76] "Liability for damages arising from the supply of products found to be defective or faulty arises in contract, common law and statute. There is some overlap. The principle statute is the Consumer Protection Act 1987."[77]

Contract: "The law of contract implies a term that goods and services sold are fit for their intended purpose and of satisfactory quality. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 Section 14(2)A states that goods are of satisfactory quality if they meet "the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking account of any description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all other relevant circumstances". "Safety" and "fitness for purpose" are the markers for quality under the act. The liability of the seller to the purchaser is strict and it does not matter whether or not the seller was at fault in causing injury to the consumer."[78]

Negligence: "The basic duty of a manufacturer/supplier at common law is to do what is reasonable in the circumstances. By its nature, the duty will vary according to the situation involved. It may be reasonable in one case to provide a warning to consumers, but in another to recall a particular batch of products (see question 1.4). Other possible steps which may be reasonable could include using an alternative design where one is available or ceasing production temporarily or permanently. In assessing what is reasonable in any particular case relevant factors may include:

  • the severity of the risk, including the type of injury;
  • obviousness of the risk to the consumer;
  • the utility of the product;
  • cost and practicality of overcoming the risk; and
  • the state of scientific and technical knowledge in relation to the risk."[79]

Statute: "The most significant legislation in this area is the Consumer Protection Act 1987 ("the Act") which imposes strict liability (subject to the availability of certain defences – see question 3.1) on producers for harm caused by defective products. "Producers" will be liable if they have supplied "defective products" in the course of business which caused death or injury to the consumer or damage to property.In order for a "producer" to be held liable, it must be established that:

  • The producer supplied (which includes manufactured – see below) a product.
  • The product was defective.
  • The defect caused injuries.

As liability is strict, it is not necessary for the consumer to show that the producer was negligent (although a separate common law claim under the law of negligence may also exist)."[80]

Law Family/Families


Scotland is a country that practices the Common Law. Common Law follows the oral tradition. There is no set constitution for the country because the tradition follows the oral way of setting up government. In court cases there is precedent, so decision made in present cases could very well be decided by major cases from the past. The family system is both rational and universal. Meaning that the system not only applies to everyone but it is also based on reason.[81]

Solicitors: Solicitors have the highest number of professionals in their field. The number ranges to about 10,000. Solicitors are allowed to give legal advice on all legal matters and they can represent people in court matters.

Solicitor Advocates: Solicitors who are allowed to take further tests that will allow them to appear in the highest of courts. This was first granted in 1993 to solicitors in order to become a Solicitor Advocate and have the same rights as advocates. Some have the right to appear in the Queens Counsel. "Only solicitor advocates & advocates are qualified to appear in the higher courts."[82]

Advocates: Members of the Scottish Bar. Advocates can appear in all courts. Most work involves appearing in high courts and giving opinions of legal and special matters. The Queens Counsel consists of the Senior Advocates, "All advocates are members of the Faculty of Advocates, which is part of the College of Justice."[83]

Notaries Public: "Solicitors who are required to record certain transactions and sign specific legal documents."[84]





There is a place in the Scotland courts for a jury. Each jury consists of 15 people. The courts allow 15 so there exists a chance of a majority verdict. An oath must be taken in order to become a juror. The jurors are not allowed to speak about the case to a non-juror. At the end of a trial the prosecution and defense both address the jury. The judge then informs the jury as to the laws pertaining to the case.[85] In the Scotland courts there cannot be a "hung jury" the decision is based on an eight to seven vote. A decision is based on either acquittal or conviction. There is a third option called "not proven", however in the courts it is considered an acquittal.[86] Where a jury is used in a civil proof, it will consist of 12 people.



Lawyers in Scotland are known as Solicitors. Solicitors can do a wide variety of things from criminal cases to civil cases. Solicitors do many jobs including:

  • receiving requests for legal advice and other help from clients and potential clients and deciding on the most appropriate responses to make to these requests
  • working on what needs to be done to solve a clients problem
  • assist on matters of law, legal advice, and other procedures
  • drawing up contracts, leases, wills and other legal documents
  • researching documents and case history in order to make sure advice is sound
  • deals with sales and the purchasing of lands, housing, and commercial premises, they also help with registering each sale
  • looking over each document and making sure it is sound enough for their client to sign
  • representing clients in tribunals and in District and Sheriff Courts
  • having rights of audience in the High Courts (solicitor-advocates only)
  • instructing advocates to provide legal opinions and to represent clients in courts at any level
  • making sure they know the changes within the law
  • supervising more junior members of the team, depending upon level of seniority
  • coordinating and supervising the work of other staff
  • getting new clients and business from existing clients
  • reading journals and attending courses as part of continuing professional development (CPD)
  • maintaining high standards of professional conduct while generating adequate practice income, ensuring that the fees earned sufficiently exceed total costs and expenses incurred.[87]

Education & Training: Trainee solicitors have to gain a Scottish Diploma in Legal Practice. It is a twenty six week course that is available at the following Universities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Stirling, the Glasgow Graduate School of Law, and Robert Gordon University. In order to apply for entry in the diploma program students must have the bachelor of Scots Law(LLB) degree. The course is offered at these institutions: University of Abertay in Dundee, Glasgow Caledonian University, and Napier University in Edinburgh. When a prospective solicitor completes this course and gains their diploma they then need to pass a two year post diploma trainee-ship with a practicing solicitor. Lawyers in another UK or EU country may qualify to practice law in Scotland if they pass the appropriate test set by the Law Society of Scotland.[88]

Law Enforcement


There are three parties that share responsibility for police forces in Scotland; the police authority, the chief constable and the Secretary of State for Scotland. This structure stems from the Police Act (Scotland) of 1967.[89] As far as the Crime Standing Committee there are three Office Bearers and eight members of the committee.

Office Bearers:

  • Chair: Mr Andrew Brown, Chief Constable, Grampian Police
  • Vice Chair: Mr James Orr, Director, Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Secretary: Mr Graeme Pearson, Assistant Chief Constable (Crime), Strathclyde Police[90]


  • Mr Ian Latimer, Chief Constable, Northern Constabulary
  • Mr Robert Ovens, Deputy Chief Constable, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
  • Mr Thomas Wood, Deputy Chief Constable, Lothian and Borders Police
  • Mr William Bald, Assistant Chief Constable, Tayside Police
  • Mr John McLean, Assistant Chief Constable (Community Safety), Strathclyde Police
  • Mr Derrick Scougall, Assistant Chief Constable, Fife Constabulary
  • Mr James Keenan, Deputy Chief Constable, Central Scotland Police[91]

The committee was created to guide the police force. It recommends practices and creates guidelines for each police force. The committee also gives advice to the Scottish Executive and other bodies related to crime. The following list is of those potential crimes and solutions the committee refers to:

  • Drugs
  • Serious and Organized Crimes
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Intelligence
  • Partnership Working
  • Community Safety[92]

Hierarchy & Structure


Scotland has a Centralized Multiple Coordinated System when looking at its Law Enforcement structure. There are multiple forces within the Scottish government who share responsibility, while there are other forces that overlap responsibility. Each force has its own jurisdiction and its own set of rules to follow along with specifications of what their job is.[93]

Police Authorities: Each police is maintained by a police authority. The responsibilities consist of:

  • "Setting the budget for the force and providing the Chief Constable with the resources necessary to police the area adequately and efficiently"
  • "Appointing officers of the rank of Assistant Chief Constable and above"
  • "Determining the number of officers and the number of civilians in the police service, subject in each case to the consent of the Secretary of State"[94]
The Chief Constable: The Chief Constable is responsible for police operations. The police authorities nor the Secretary of State has the power to direct the Chief Constable. The Chief is to comply with instructions from the Lord Advocate, the Sheriff Principal or the Prosecutor, relating to certain offenses and prosecutions.[95]

Secretary of State:The Secretary of State is responsible for the policy making in terms of Law and Order."The Secretary of State has power to make regulations governing various aspects of the terms and conditions of service of police officers and their pay and allowances. Regulations also specify certain duties which constables are not required to perform. Some regulations are in the first instance subject to consultation in the Police Negotiating Board for the United Kingdom or the Police Advisory Board for Scotland, on which bodies are represented police authorities, police staff associations and the Government. The Secretary of State also issues guidance to police authorities and chief constables on a wide range of policing matters. The Secretary of State provides central training and other common police services (recovering half the cost from police authorities). The Secretary of State's consent is required for appointments - by police authorities - of officers in the rank of Assistant Chief Constable and above."[96]

Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary: The HM inspectors are under the direction of the secretary of state. the HM inspector visits the police forces and submits a report to the secretary. HM's look at the efficiency of the police force as well as the state of each force. HM's report annually to the secretary of state.[97]

Internal Force Organization: The forces are divided into three main branches, Uniformed, Criminal Investigation and Traffic.

  • Uniformed- This particular group is put in place to preserve peace, prevent crime, protect people and property while maintaining order. Usually they are patrolling in Urban areas either on foot or in a police vehicle. Each has a radio facility. "This ensures effective deployment of manpower and best use of modern communication techniques."[98]
  • Criminal Investigation Department- Criminal investigators have the job of doing the following, Investigating crime scenes, checking and classification of crime reports, collecting information relating to crime in a district, preparing crime statistics and advising on crime prevention."CID officers are normally distributed throughout the force area and work in close co-operation with their uniformed colleagues. Specialist drugs units operate in each force."[99]
  • Traffic- "Officers of the Traffic Department are primarily concerned with enforcement of road traffic laws, traffic management, road safety and related matters. In many forces they also undertake a wider range of policing duties."[100]

Some forces have specialized units like under water units, mounted branch and police dogs. There is also a community involvement branch that serves as a bridge for the youth and the officers. This service allows the youth to better understand policing. It also serves as an adviser of personal and domestic security as well as crime prevention.[101]

Rank Structure: The ranking structure is as follows:
  • Senority
  • Chief Constable
  • Assistant Chief Constable
  • Superintendent
  • Chief Inspector
  • Inspector
  • Sergeant
  • Constable

The ranking listed follows from the highest to lowest ranking officer.[102]

Police Force: In Scotland there are eight police forces that each have its own job. The eight forces in Scotland are as follows:

Selection & Training


Police officers have to maintain law and order within a society. They must protect people and keep property safe.Officers must investigate crime and keep in mind that they are entrusted with preventing crime and detecting offenders. Recruits must spend two years as a constable on probation. They are to work with an experienced officer daily to ensure that they become familiar with the streets and its people. They are to gain experience in fields such as interviewing suspects, investigating suspicious incidents, taking statements from witnesses and informing next of kin of injury or death.[103] The minimum age for training is 18. Qualifications are a good general education and passing the Police Standard Test. Standard grades(1-3) and/or highers. English and Math are also useful. All qualifications vary depending on the police force you are applying for and the section of that police force. Standard grades is National Qualifications taken at school after four years of Secondary education. They can be taken at three levels, Foundation, General & Credit. A standard grade at credit level is at level 5 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). General level is at level 4 and foundation level is at level 3 of the SCQF. [104] The standard entrance test consists of three parts language, information handling and numeracy. After passing these three components they are to take a critical thinking test. This test contains police based scenarios, it is meant to show decision making skills. After this section is completed there are four more sections:

  • Fitness Test
  • Range of Individual and Group Assessments
  • Interview
  • Medical Examination

Any criminal convictions or juvenile offenses must be applied because it could prevent acceptance. If accepted you move onto the lengthy training program. "Training takes place on the job with block release to the Police College at Tulliallan."[105] One week is spent locally and fifteen weeks are spent in Tulliallan. Within two years of being a probationary constable each will spend time with specialist departments such as CID and Traffic. Each police force takes action on its own recruitment.



On the corruptions perception index of 2009 Scotland and the UK rank 7.7 out of 10. On the scale this means that Scotland and the UK are ranked as two countries perceived to be less corrupted than most.[106]



The Law Enforcement in Scotland resembles three different orientations.

Community Policing:

  • Community partnerships
  • Coactive(police & community work together)
  • Build trust and reduce distance

We can see an example of this with the police officers who are set to build a bridge between the police department and the youth within the community. [107]

Problem-Oriented Policing:

  • Action directed at solving long term problems
  • Proactive and designed to prevent crime
  • Issues and solutions defined more broadly

An example of problem oriented policing is the uniformed officers that are put onto the streets. Their job is to prevent crime, protect people and property while maintaining the law.[108]

Intelligence Led Policing:

  • Data and intelligence oriented
  • Proactive and designed to prevent crime
  • Intelligence used to orient action

We can see an example of this when the HM inspectors do their annual inspection of the police force and the state. An annual report allows officers to be able to understand patterns within crime and it allows them to know where more force power is needed.[109]

Crime Rates and Public Opinion

Sheriff Courthouse Forfar. The seat of justice in the County Town of Angus

A telephone based study done by the United Kingdom finds that Scotland is more prone to violence than most countries. Telephone interviews were done with victims in twenty one different countries.

Researchers found that over 2,000 Scots were getting attacked each week, this is almost ten times more than official police figures. Scotland's violent crime rate has more than doubled within the past twenty years.[110]"The attacks have been fueled by a “booze and blades” culture in the west of Scotland which has claimed more than 160 lives over the past five years. Since January there have been 13 murders, 145 attempted murders and 1,100 serious assaults involving knives in the west of Scotland. The problem is made worse by sectarian violence, with hospitals reporting higher admissions following Old Firm matches."[111]There's no doubt in any country that the ability to get weapons is a major contribution to violence. It so happens that liquor and the ability to get weapons as easily as getting liquor becomes a major problem. However, we do see that some crimes are not reported by police and this can be a major factor in finding how much crime is committed in Scotland. Like in any country there are many reasons why crime rates sometimes seem a lot less than they should be. Either the police file crimes under different levels or they don't report them at all, some victims aren't willing to come forward with the crimes that have been committed against them. Scotland police placed a new way of recording crimes more efficiently in 2005. The community and its police force believe that there needs to be something done about how much crime is being committed in Scotland. Although the figures speak for themselves there are some who say that the higher crime rates are due to a change in the way crimes are being recorded. "These statistics do not mean that crime is on the up" says Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson. "There was a rise of almost a quarter in recorded cases of vandalism, while rape allegations were at an all-time high.But Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said the statistics did not mean that crime was on the increase in Scotland.She said the rise in minor crime was down to changes in the way they were recorded by police and welcomed falls in violent crime and housebreaking.The Scottish National Party said the new recording system painted a "grim picture" of the true crime level in Scotland while Tories claimed crime was "spiraling out of control."[112]

Cases and victims currently recorded as homicide by the police in Scotland :Number of Cases 07-08 114, Number of Victims 114, Number of Victims per Millions 22, Number of Accused 128.[113]
Victims by Age and Sex /Males:All 90, rate per million:36 Younger than 16: 2, Rate per Million:4, Ages 16-30: 32, Rate per Million:64, Ages 31-50: 40, Rate per Million:56, Ages 50 and Over:16, Rate per Million:20.
Females: All:24, Rate per Million:9, Younger than 16:4, Rate per Million:9, Ages 16-30:6, Rate per Million:12, Ages 31-50:9, Rate per Million:12, Over 50:5, Rate per Million:5.[114]

Scotland has the second highest crime rate in all of Western Europe, the first being Finland. Scots are three time more likely to be murdered than those living in England and Wales, Scotland's homicide rate is 2.33 for every 100,000 people each year. Scotland's crime rate is most certainly attributed to the drug and alcohol use throughout the country. "Almost half of murders in Scotland are committed by people under the influence of drink or drugs - particularly in Glasgow, which, despite its successful effort to shed its hardman image in the city centre, is still plagued with violence in its east end and hinterland estates.Scotland's second city is in fact the murder capital of Europe, with about 70 killings each year. Much of the violence is caused by gangs vying to control the city's drugs trade."[115]

<|155/100 |148/100 |- |Drunk |54/35 |33/22 |- |On Drugs |18/12 |13/9 |- |Drunk&On Drugs |11/7 |21/14 |- |Neither Drunk Nor on Drugs |11/7 |19/15 |- |Unknown |61/39 |62/42 |}

[116] Data was taken from 2007-2008 in Scotland for method of killing and how much of each occurred. All: 114 and 100%,Shooting: 4 and 4%, Sharp Instrument: 55 and 48%, Blunt Instrument: 8 and 7%, Hitting&Kicking: 15 and 13%, Strangulation/Asphyxiation: 6 and 5%, Drowning: 2 and 2%, Fire: 1 and 1%, Poisoning: 12 and 11%, Other/Unknown:11 and 10%.[117]
Relationship of Accused to Victim 07-08
All 114
Victims-Solved Cases 111
Son/Daughter 5
Parent 2
Partner/Ex.Partner 22
Other Relative 2
Friend/Social Acquaintance 31
Business/Criminal Acquaintance 4
Rival Gang Member 2
Other known 21
Stranger 15
Unknown 7
Victims Unsolved Cases 3
[118]Looking at the statistics most crimes committed in Scotland are those of theft. The total number of Theft cases reported add up to 1,079,985, with property damage following with 936,351 and total violence against a person with 903,442. These reported cases were within a one year time span. Each case was reported from the year of 2008 to 2009. Due to the large amount of criminal activity reported the following table will only show the total number of the general categories of crime.
Category of Crime Number of Reported Cases
Recorded Crime 4,702,468
Violence With Injury 420,965
Violence Without Injury 482,477
Violence Against Person 903,442
Sexual Offenses 51,414
Robbery Offenses 80,116
Burglary 581,546
Vehicle Offenses 591,943
Theft Offenses 1,079,985
Fraud and Forgery 163,110
Criminal Damage Offenses 936,351
Drug Offenses 243,406
Miscellaneous Offenses 71,155

Public Opinion: Two in five British citizens found that crime and violence to be an issue. 43% of British Citizens are worried about violence and crime. 29% of British citizens do not have confidence in their government to crack down on crime.[120] Channel four in the UK conducted a poll for the adult citizens. The poll conducted was asking opinions about the death penalty within the criminal system. The results are as follows:

  • "70 per cent think the UK should still have the death penalty as the maximum possible penalty for at least one of the twelve different types of crime surveyed."
  • "73 per cent agree (50 per cent ‘strongly agree’) that ‘the views of the public are being ignored by politicians and the Government when setting maximum sentences and penalties for serious crimes’."
  • "76 per cent agree (51 per cent ‘strongly agree’) that ‘there should be more open debate in the UK about the penalties for serious crimes, including the death penalty’."
  • "77 per cent agree (56 per cent ‘strongly agree’) that they ‘are concerned that the maximum penalties (or sentences) that are set in the UK for child abuse are not severe enough’."[121]

Family of Law: Scotland's law is based on the Common Law, which is also the law system in the United States and the United Kingdom. Common law is usually law that is passed down from customs. Of course when it is necessary the law can be altered for the time but common law is usually interpreted customs that were passed down. Precedent is highly regarded in common law, usually court decisions are made based on prior cases. Scotland's legal system is substantive rather than procedural. Scotland allows Judge made substantive law and legislation based law.[122]



Family Law




In Scotland you must go through the courts to get divorced. In order to get a divorce there must be at least one of the following:

  • The defender's adultery
  • Defender's unreasonable behavior
  • Defender has deserted the pursuer
  • Non-Cohabitation of the parties for two years with consent of the other spouse
  • Non-Cohabitation of two parties for five years

For the bottom two there are extenuating circumstances.[123]



Both parties must have birth certificates, passports or other identification documents. Certificate from the country in which you live to show there is no "impediment" to you getting married. Both parties must submit a marriage notice for the district where the marriage will take place. They must be submitted 15 days before the wedding date and no more than 3 months before. If you're divorced or widowed you need to bring the death certificate or divorce certificate with original court seal. If the divorce certificate was granted somewhere other than Scotland you need the final decree. There is no Proxy marriage. Cousin marriages are allowed in Scotland. Gay marriage is not allowed in Scotland, however you can register your same sex relationship[124] Fees: £93.50 There may be additional fees. Common Law Marriage:"In 2006 Scotland's Family Law Act abolished "marriage by cohabitation with habit and repute" aka common law marriage."[125] Age: Both participants must be at least the age of sixteen. Parental consent is not necessary. Officiants: Religious ceremonies must have a minister, clergyman, pastor, priest, or other person who can do the ceremony under the Marriage(Scotland) Act 1977. A civil marriage can be done by a registrar or and assistant registrar who has been authorized by the registrar general. Witnesses: Each ceremony needs two witnesses who must be over the age of sixteen.[126]



"If you want to adopt a child, you must normally be at least 21. If you are part of a couple and one of you is the parent of the child who is to be adopted, the parent must be at least 18, and the step-parent, who will be the adopter, must be at least 21."[127] You can be single and adopt. You can also be divorced, married(same sex as well) and even couples. As long as there is a family relationship. If you have other children you can still adopt. If you have been convicted of a crime it could cause a minor setback. Depending on the extent of the crime you will be able to adopt. You cannot adopt a child if your offense is against a child. Pending a background check by the adoption agency and the police you can adopt. You don't have to be employed to adopt a child, however the agency will check whether or not you have a sufficient amount of money in order to keep up with the child's needs. Adoption allowances can be made available for the adopters. You cannot adopt if you have a serious illness, a medical report will be asked for before acceptance. In terms of race the agency tries to put children into homes with the same ethnicity and culture, however you can still adopt a child who is not of the same race or ethnicity.[128]

Inheritance(Laws of Succession)


If a couple is together for an extended a period of time, when one spouse dies it doesn't necessarily mean that the surviving spouse gets any of what the deceased leaves behind. If the name is not in the will that person receives nothing. A grown son or daughter can appear after years and claim on the estates of the dying or deceased. The laws are trying to be changed so that it makes sense with the modern society. It holds now that if a man remarries and already has children, if he dies and does not change his will the second family is left with nothing. Generally if there is a will made the inheritance will follow what is stated in the will. If there is a deceased spouse and he/she dies without making a will, the surviving spouse will receive the "lions share of the estate."[129]

Families & Children


"Fathers who were married to the mother retain the PRRs that they had during the marriage, unless the court orders otherwise. Parents may agree privately between them issues such as with whom the child will live, and when. If they are unable to reach agreement, either parent may apply to the court for an order regulating matters. The court will generally make such an order under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995."[130]Parents who are unable or unwilling to take care of their children can lose there parental rights. The court can act in the best interest of the child and take them out of their parents care. If someone feels that a parent is not suitable to raise a child under the age of 18 the courts can handle where to put the child. If it is agreed upon by both parties the father may gain custody by signing an agreement along with the mother that allows the father to take custody. The mothers parental rights however, are not fully taken away from her. The Scotland courts can decided upon:

  • parental responsibilities
  • parental rights
  • compulsory supervision measures - any measure which the court feels is necessary to safeguard and promote a child's welfare
  • child protection orders - in emergencies, to protect a child from significant harm
  • guardianship
  • adoption
  • the administration of a child's property.[131]



Elders:"One of the key components of the vision for Scotland's communities is that people feel safe both in their homes and when they are out and about on their daily business.Feeling safe is a basic human right and we need to ensure that we create a feeling of safety by tackling both crime and the fear of crime in our communities. Building strong, safe, inclusive communities is at the heart of our Social Justice agenda.Our milestones make this clear:

  • reducing crime in disadvantaged areas
  • reducing the fear of crime among older people
  • tackling drug misuse

Practical advise on crime prevention can be obtained from your local police station. They will also be able to provide various crime prevention leaflets."[132]

Juveniles:"The children hearings system, Scotland's unique system of juvenile justice, commenced operating on 15 April 1971.The system is centered on the welfare of the child. A fundamental principle is that the needs of the child should be the key test and that children who offend and children who are in need of care and protection should be dealt with in the same system. Cases relating to children who may require compulsory measures of intervention are considered by an independent panel of trained lay people. The rights of parents and children are protected by the legal framework which provides for decisions relating to the child's welfare to be decided by the panel of lay people while disputed facts and appeals are dealt with by courts."[133]

The following is a list of the fundamental principles of the children hearing system:

  • "children who offend and children against whom offenses are committed should normally be dealt with in the same system - but children who commit very serious offenses may be dealt with by the courts"
  • "the system is based on a concern for the welfare of the child not punishment"
  • "while the child's needs are normally the test for intervention this does not mean ignoring deeds as to do so would not be in the child's best interests."
  • "the gatekeeper to the system, the reporter, gathers evidence to support specified reasons for referral to hearings, known as grounds for referral, and also applies the test of the need for compulsory intervention"
  • "hearings are conducted in private but are open to prescribed public scrutiny"
  • "decisions in hearings are made by trained lay people, representing a cross-section of the community"
  • "children and parents have the right to accept or deny the grounds for referral and disputed facts are dealt with by a sheriff"
  • "hearings consider the 'whole' child - that is the child in the context of his or her life"
  • "the style and setting of hearings is relatively informal to encourage full and frank discussion while legal procedures are observed"
  • "hearings should attempt to engage the co-operation of families in resolving problems"
  • "parents are usually the best people to bring up their own children and should be encouraged and enabled to do so whenever possible"
  • "hearings must seek, listen to and take account of the views of children and their parents in reaching decisions"
  • "compulsory measures should be beneficial with decisions taken by children hearings being in the best interests of the individual child"
  • "compulsory measures encompass protection, treatment, guidance and control"
  • "children should remain in their own community wherever possible and service provision should be integrated"
  • "other rights, such as the right to appeal and to review of compulsory measures, are built in to the system."[134]

Social Inequality/Human Rights


Human Rights


Human Rights are the basic rights given to each person in the Country of Scotland. The European Convention on Human Rights protects the basic rights of those countries that belong to the Council of Europe. If you feel that your rights have been violated you can take your case to the court in the UK. Your basic rights are the following:

  • Right to life
  • Protection from torture
  • Protection from slavery or forced labor
  • Right to respect for private and family life
  • Protection from discrimination[135]

Rights of Women


"Traditionally, prior to World War I, women were kept out of public life, and the roles of married women were confined to the domestic sphere. Suffragists simply wanted votes for women on the same terms as men.Legislation was totally male dominated.Elsie Inglis (1864-1917), among many others, was appalled at the injustices, and became a founder member of the Scottish Women’s Suffragette Federation in 1906. Determined to be a doctor, she could only qualify when the degree finally became available for women. Flora Drummond, a postmistress, was imprisoned nine times for her activities as one of the more militant leaders of the Women’s Social and Political Union.Much change in Scotland came about through the war effort: women could prove their worth by joining the Women’s Land Army or Voluntary Aid Detachments. Many worked in munitions factories (they were known as ‘munitionettes’), in engineering, driving buses or ambulances, and as nurses at home or at the front.In 1915 unscrupulous landlords increased rents around the shipyards and munitions plants. The Govan and Partick women organised resistance - Helen Crawford was leader - and as a result of the ‘women’s fight’, the Rent Restriction Act froze rents. Women had at last broken a social barrier.By 1918 the Representation of the People Act changed the voting system. Women over 30 and men over 21 were given the vote, and women were for the first time allowed to stand for Parliament"[136]



There are many laws protecting citizens from being discriminated against. There are seven categories that the Scotland law focuses on in terms of discrimination: Age, Gender, Race, Disability, Religious and Belief, Sexual orientation and Transgenders.

In age discrimination there are two different types that could occur,Direct and Indirect. An example of direct discrimination would be if a young candidate is refused a job. If a young candidate is refused a job because they may not be taken seriously, this is discrimination. If the young candidate has all the qualifications to do such a job his or her age should not withhold them from getting a job. If a young employee is passed over for a promotion because he or she is still "wet behind the ears" this too is direct age discrimination. If the employee possess all the qualifications needed to attend meetings and receive a promotion, their age should not matter. Harassment is another type of discrimination that is put under the direct discrimination category. If the employer or employees are telling ageist jokes, bullying or name calling this could constitute as age discrimination. In indirect discrimination employers could set ageist standards. If an employer asks candidates to do a physical fitness test even though it is not necessary for the job. No doubt the younger candidates would have a bigger advantage here. Another example would be if the employers suggests that candidates need 10 years experience for a job that only needs about two to three years experience. Under the Employment Equality(age) Regulations of 2006 it is unlawful to turn down a candidate because of their age.[137]



Under the Human Rights Act and the Disability Discrimination Act no person should be discriminated against because of their disability. Accommodations should be made in each of the following: Employment, Education, Access to goods, facilities, and services and also buying and renting property.


"The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) says that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you if you are disabled:

  • in the terms of employment offered;
  • in the opportunities for promotion, transfer, training or receiving any other benefit;
  • by refusing to offer you, or deliberately not offering, any such opportunity; or
  • by dismissing you, or subjecting you to any other negative treatment."[138]

Education: It is unlawful for education providers to discriminate in the following areas:

  • "admissions (including placing requests)"
  • "the curriculum, teaching and learning and other services which are provided wholly or mainly for students – including school trips and outings, school sports, leisure facilities and school meals, libraries and learning centres, work experience and student accommodation"
  • "by excluding you from an education institution or course."[139]
Access to service: Under the Disability Discrimination Act it is unlawful for providers of services to discriminate against people with disability. This means that buildings should be accessible to those with disability. There need not be a problem before making changes to a business, if the owner sees that those with disabilities could face a potential problem it is there job to accommodate first. Those who provide goods should accommodate for those with disabilities. People who have a disability should not be treated less favorably than those without disabilities."Services include going to a restaurant, shopping for clothes or food, using the local library, going to church or visiting your solicitor or doctor."[140]



Gender discrimination not only includes females and males but transgenders, those who are married and those in a civil partnership.

Work:Less favorable treatment of a man or woman because of their sex is against the rights of each employee. Harassment between employees or employer is also against the rights of each employee. Harassment is unwanted behavior done to a man or woman. Harassment is done on purpose in order to create a specific work environment for that person. Employers who set standards that favor one sex over the other is following indirect discrimination. For example, applicant must be six feet tall. There is also victimization between genders. If you make a complaint of sexual discrimination and then you are treated unfavorably.[141] There are also rights against discrimination in the following areas:
  • Equal Pay
  • Pregnancy & Maternity
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Family Friendly Working
  • Part Time Work
  • Recruitment & Selection
  • Dismissal & Redundancy
  • Relationships at Work
  • Dress Codes[142]

Education:"You have the right not to be discriminated against because of your sex in education or when you apply for a place on a course or at a school or college.These rules apply to both state-funded and private schools, universities, Further Education colleges and other education providers."[143] Schools cannot deny admittance because of pregnancy. Scotland does have schools that are gender specific. Students already accepted in a school should not be discriminated against in terms of the education and the benefits and services. Acceptance in a school or university should not depend on the applicants gender.[144]

Consumer/Public Services: It is unlawful to discriminate in the following areas:
  • refusing to provide a service
  • providing you with a lower standard of service
  • providing you with a service on worse terms[145]
  • providing transport services
  • providing treatment or medication to male and female patients and the availability of health services to men and women
  • providing accommodation such as housing, refuges etc
  • Asking a woman questions about childcare in an interview which are not put to male candidates
  • Treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant.
  • Applying a height restriction for a job
  • Having a requirement that all employees must work full time.[146]

Transgenders:"The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 makes it unlawful to discriminate on the ground of sex in employment, education and the provision of housing, goods, facilities and services.In employment and vocational training, the Sex Discrimination Act protects people who are discriminated against because they:

  • intend to undergo gender reassignment
  • are currently undergoing gender reassignment
  • have already undergone gender reassignment."[147]



You cannot be discriminated against based on your color or nationality. You cannot be denied a position because of your color or nationality.

Employment:"The Act also applies to members of trade unions (or those seeking membership of trade unions) and applies to authorities or bodies which issue authorisations or qualifications for engagement in professions and trades. In addition, individuals seeking or undergoing training for vocational purposes are also covered. Similarly, employment agencies cannot discriminate against individuals that receive their services."[148]

Education: In Scotland it is unlawful to reject someone based on their ethnicity or color of their skin. In any type of school this holds true, whether it is a university, private school or even local educators. "The amended Act covers admission, treatment as a pupil or student, and exclusion, as well as decisions by local education authorities and education authorities (in Scotland), such as decisions on special educational needs."[149]

Goods, Facilities and Services: It is unlawful for any type of goods or service provider to refuse to serve those who are of a different race. This includes movie theaters, stores, food markets, hotels, bars, insurance companies, financial services etc.[150]

Housing: "The amended Act applies to the selling, letting or managing of property (including business premises), making it illegal to discriminate in the way any of these activities are conducted."[151]

Stop and Search: Racial discrimination within Law Enforcement is covered by the Racial Relations Act. This means officers do not have the right to stop and search you because of your race, color, language, hair, etc. Under the Racial Relations Act you can complain of discrimination. If you are treated less favorably during a search or stop you can complain of discrimination.[152]

Public Functions: "Since 2 April 2001, the Act has applied to all the functions of public authorities that were previously excluded.This brings within the scope of the Act the law enforcement or control functions of government agencies, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the probation service, Customs and Excise, the immigration service and the prison service; and the regulatory functions of local authorities, including environmental health, trading standards, licensing, and child protection."[153] If you feel your rights have been violated you can bring your complaint to the county court or sheriff court. "Certain complaints of discrimination relating to decisions on immigration status will be considered as part of the one-stop immigration appeal procedure."[154]

Religion & Belief


Under the Equality Act of 2006 it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of belief or religion and even not having a belief or religion. It is unlawful to discriminate against any one person with or without a religious affiliation or belief in the following:

  • Any aspect of employment
  • Providing goods, facilities, and services
  • Providing education
  • Using or disposing of premises
  • When exercising public functions[155]

Sexual Orientation


Under the Sexual Orientation Regulations of 2003 also known as the SOR's, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation. It is unlawful in the following areas:

  • Working & Earnings
  • Learning & Training
  • Shops, Services, Clubs and Associations
  • Care & Healthcare
  • Housing & Property
  • Justice & Legal System
  • Public Services[156]

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