The Accountant in Bankruptcy is an executive agency of the Scottish Government. It is responsible for administering the process of personal bankruptcy and recording corporate insolvencies in Scotland. The site includes various publications and guides on the process of insolvency in Scotland, annual reports 1986-87 onwards (under “About AIB”), and relevant legislation (found under “Guidance”). “AiB systems and tools” include an online Register of Insolvencies and a Debt Arrangement Scheme Register.
BAILII (the British and Irish Legal Information Institute) provides the most comprehensive set of British and Irish primary legal materials freely available online. The Scottish case law databases have judgments of the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary and Sheriff Court, 1998 onwards, with selective coverage for earlier years. Cases from 1469 to 1808 are in the form of law reports from BAILII’s Historical Scottish Law Reports collection mostly taken from Morison’s Dictionary of Decisions supplemented by cases from other nominate reports. Legislation includes Acts of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Statutory Instruments, both 1999 onwards. Selected Scottish Law Commission publications are also available.
The Boundary Commission for Scotland is responsible for reviews of constituencies in Scotland for the UK Parliament. (It also had responsibility for reviewing Scottish Parliament boundaries up to 18 May 2017, when this passed to the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.) Its web site includes information on the current review (2018) and previous reviews, current and historic boundary maps, and links to legislation.
Care Inspectorate is the day to day working name of the body whose formal name is Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). It regulates and inspects social care, social work and child protection services in Scotland. Documentation on the site includes guidance, inspection reports, and documents relating to inspection, complaints and enforcement. Extensive links to legislation are provided via “Knowledge” within its linked microsite “The Hub”.
Crofting is a form of landholding unique to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The Crofting Commission replaced the Crofters Commission as the regulator of crofting on 1 April 2012. “The Act and Policy” section within “About us” presents the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 as amended by the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2007, the Crofting Reform (Scotland Act 2010 and the Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2013. “Regulatory Applications” provides the latest decisions/applications on, for example, subletting, decrofting and bequests. Information is provided on how to enter crofts in the Crofting Register, launched 30 November 2012, with links to application forms used in connection with the Register, which resides on the Registers of Scotland site. “About us” also contains annual reports from 2016/17 onwards.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is the department of the Scottish Government responsible for investigating deaths and undertaking prosecutions in the public interest. It is headed by Scotland’s chief legal officer, the Lord Advocate. The web site explains the role and organisation of the department and provides contact details for each Procurator Fiscal’s office. Publications include the Book of Regulations, the Disclosure Manual and Guidelines on a variety of subjects.
This regulatory body came into being in 2013 and exercises the functions of three former bodies: the Commission for Ethical Standards, the Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland and the Public Appointments Commissioner for Scotland. The Commissioner investigates complaints about the conduct of MSPs, local authority councillors and members of public bodies and also regulates how people are appointed to the boards of public bodies in Scotland. The Decisions available on the website extend back to 2003. The “Links” section gives access to the Code of Conduct for MSPs, the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and the Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies. The current Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland is available on the site itself, along with previous editions of various codes.
The Faculty of Advocates is the professional body for the Scottish Bar. Its web site provides information on the office-holders and organisation of the Faculty and on education and training for advocates. The membership directory can be searched by individuals’ names or specialisms: select “About Advocates”. The Faculty’s Guide to Professional Conduct can be downloaded from the “Professional Standards” page, also within “About Advocates”.
The Fingerprint Inquiry arose out of concerns about the identification and verification of fingerprints in the Scottish case of HM Advocate v McKie in 1999. It was announced in March 2008, was chaired by Sir Anthony Campbell, a former judge of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, and reported on 14 December 2011. Besides inquiring into and reporting on the facts of the McKie case itself, the Inquiry also set out to “… make recommendations as to what measures might now be introduced … to ensure that any shortcomings are avoided in the future”. The Inquiry’s web site, now archived by the UK Web Archive, includes transcripts of hearings, evidence and other documentation in addition to the full text (PDF) of its report. Part 6 of the report comprises four chapters on the law and practice of fingerprints in Scotland.
The Health and Education Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland was established on 12 January 2018. Its first jurisdiction (there will be three others in due course) is Additional Support Needs, which it took over on that date from the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland (ASNTS). Information here on Additional Support Needs includes details of the reference and claims procedures, guidance, annual reports 2005/06 onwards and other publications, links to legislation, and a decisions database 2006 onwards.
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) was established on 1 April 2015 as a non-ministerial office with responsibility for implementing and monitoring food safety and food standards in Scotland. It took over the responsibilities of the UK’s Food Standards Agency in respect of Scotland, with additional responsibilities concerning diet and nutrition. Its web site provides guidance for consumers and businesses, including a downloadable Scottish Food and Feed Law Guide (PDF) with extensive links to UK and EU legislation.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) was set up under the Teaching Council (Scotland) Act 1965 as the regulatory body for the teaching profession in Scotland. It maintains a register, searchable online, of teachers who are eligible to teach in public sector schools in Scotland. Also on the site are details of the complaints procedure, and documents which include professional standards, rules, codes of practice and standing orders.
Govan Law Centre, an independent, charitable, community-controlled law centre in Glasgow, provides a large-scale collection of legal articles, case comments and links. News is presented in the form of a blog going back to June 2009.
The responsibilities of Healthcare Improvement Scotland include the inspection and regulation of independent healthcare services in Scotland, including hospitals, hospices and clinics. Select “Inspecting and regulating care” via the Scrutiny tab to access relevant information, guidance and inspection reports.
The Board, which was created in 2002, recommends to the Scottish Ministers potential candidates for appointment to judicial offices in Scotland. Included within its remit are the offices of Senator of the College of Justice (Judge of the Court of Session or High Court of Justiciary), Chair of the Scottish Land Court, Sheriff Principal, Sheriff, Part-time Sheriff, Summary Sheriff and Temporary Judge, and judges of the Upper Tribunal and the First-tier Tribunal. It also sets the standards to be applied by Justice of the Peace Advisory Committees in the appointment of JPs. The appointments recommended by the Board are listed on the web site, as are current vacancies. “Resources” includes the criteria for judicial appointments generally, role profiles and FAQs. Publications include annual reports 2002-2003 onwards.
The Judiciary of Scotland web site includes information about Scottish judges and the Scottish court system, summaries of selected judgments, responses to consultations, news, and press releases. In the “You and the Judiciary” section there is a glossary of the most commonly used legal terms in Scotland.
This page relates to the work of the Judicial Studies Committee (to 2012) and its successor, the Judicial Institute (2013 onwards). The Committee was established in 1997 to promote training for judges in Scotland’s Supreme Courts (the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary) and Sheriff Courts. Publications available include the Equal Treatment Bench Book (2019) and the Jury Manual (2020), and annual reports, 2008 onwards.
The Lands Tribunal for Scotland deals with various types of dispute involving land or property. Its web site has general information, forms, procedural guidance, links to relevant legislation, and selected recent decisions.
The Law Society of Scotland is the governing body for Scottish solicitors. The “For Members” section contains advice, rules and guidance on many aspects of professional practice. Directories of solicitors’ firms and of individual solicitors are also available: see under “For the public” > “Find a Solicitor”.
Online directory set up to help members of the Law Society of Scotland source expert witnesses, professional witnesses and judicial experts across a range of specialisms. It is searchable by specialist area and location.
The Journal is the monthly magazine for Scottish solicitors. Select “Search the Archive” for the complete text of articles from December 1998 onwards.
Scottish legislation on the UK’s official legislation database includes Acts of the Scottish Parliament (ASPs) and Scottish Statutory Instruments (SSIs), both 1999 onwards. ASPs are reproduced as revised, with an option to select the original “as enacted” text under “What Version” on the left of the screen. SSIs are as originally made. Explanatory Notes to ASPs (introduced in 1999) and Executive Notes to SSIs (July 2005 onwards) are included if published. Also available are the Acts of the Old Scottish Parliament 1424-1707 as revised. The content for this is not complete.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland, established in 1973, is responsible for carrying out reviews of boundaries in Scottish local authority areas, and also, since 18 May 2017, of Scottish Parliament boundaries. Information on past boundary reviews includes links to statutory instruments. Other site content includes information papers, boundary maps and minutes of commission meetings 1974 onwards.
The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland (MHTS) began hearings in October 2005, when the main provisions of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 came into force. Its web site provides information on the Tribunal’s role and organisation, including quarterly statistical reports on its activities and annual reports. The section “Legislation and Caselaw” has links to relevant legislation and full texts of court judgments in appeals against MHTS decisions.
The Mental Welfare Commission was set up to safeguard the rights of people in Scotland with mental illness or learning difficulties. It operates within the framework of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. The web site, whilst not reproducing those Acts as such, provides commentary, guidance, codes of practice, forms, reports of investigations and inquiries (anonymized), and annual reports 2007/08 onwards. Legislation is provided via links to Legislation.gov.uk.
NetRegs provides information for small and medium-sized businesses in Northern Ireland and Scotland about how to comply with environmental legislation. The site is produced in partnership by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Guidelines are accessible both by type of business and by environmental topic. The “Legislation” section has information about current and proposed legislation in each jurisdiction.
This Office was established by the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. It performs a supervisory role with regard to those appointed to exercise functions relating to the property and financial affairs of adults with incapacity. The web site provides forms, guides and codes of practice relating to powers of attorney including Electronic Powers of Attorney Registration (EPOAR), access to funds, interventions, guardianship and other matters.
The Pensions Appeal Tribunal Scotland hears appeals from ex-servicemen and women in Scotland who have had their claims for a war pension rejected by the Secretary of State for Defence. It deals with both the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pension Scheme. Besides legislation and information on the appeal process, the site has a set of Medical Appendices which provide basic information on a range of medical conditions.
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) is an independent public body which undertakes investigations into the most serious incidents involving the police and scrutinises the way police bodies operating in Scotland respond to complaints from the public. First established in 2007 as the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland (PCCS), it was renamed on 1 April 2013 upon the creation of the single Police Service of Scotland. Site content includes forms and leaflets, FAQs, details of the complaint review process, and downloadable texts of reviews 2007 onwards.
The Queen’s Printer for Scotland (QPS) delivers a range of services to the public, information industry and government relating to the publication and re-use of information produced by the Scottish Government. This work complements the policies managed by the UK National Archives. The QPS website provides guidance on re-use of public sector information and copyright. Annual reports are available from 2002 onwards (the first covering 1999-2002). Access to Acts of the Scottish Parliament (as enacted and as amended) and original versions of Explanatory Notes and Scottish Statutory Instruments 1999 onwards is provided via links to the Legislation.gov.uk site.
Produced by researchers from the Scottish Parliament Project based in the School of History at the University of St Andrews, RPS contains the proceedings of the Scottish parliament from the first surviving Act of 1235 to the union of 1707. The proceedings, which include the text of statutes, may be browsed by date (based on the reigns of monarchs) and are also fully searchable. Documents may be viewed as they appear in the manuscript (original language/spelling), or in standardized modern English versions.
Registers of Scotland (RoS) is an executive agency of the Scottish Government responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents. The chief registers are the Land Register of Scotland, the General Register of Sasines, the Crofting Register, the Register of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and the Register of Community Interests in Land. The site provides access to RoS’s web-based services, which are chargeable. There is a good deal of free information available, including information leaflets and reports.
The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is the independent regulator and registrar of Scottish charities, equivalent to the Charity Commission in England and Wales. The Scottish Charity Register may be searched on its site. Publications include guidance, policy documents, inquiry reports, annual reports, consultations and decisions. Links to relevant legislation, both primary and secondary, are provided in the Charity Law section.
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, chaired by Lady Anne Smith, was established on 1 October 2015 to inquire into the abuse of children in care in Scotland and to make recommendations to Scottish ministers for any changes to practices, policies and the law that it considers are required for the protection of children in the future. Hearings began on 31 May 2017 and transcripts are published on the inquiry’s site.
The Scottish Civil Justice Council was established in May 2013. Its remit is: to keep the civil justice system under review; to review practice and procedure in the Court of Session and in civil proceedings in the sheriff court; to prepare and submit to the Court of Session draft civil procedure rules; to provide advice and make recommendations to the Lord President on the development of, and changes to, the civil justice system; and to advise on any matter relating to the civil justice system as requested by the Lord President. In addition to amendments to Court Rules, the Council’s web site provides information on its committees, including minutes of meetings, annual reports 2013/14 onwards, and current consultations.
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) is responsible for the administration of the courts and tribunals of Scotland. These include the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary, Sheriff Appeal Court, Sheriff Courts, Justice of the Peace Courts, Upper Tribunal for Scotland, First-tier Tribunal for Scotland, and Office of the Public Guardian. The site also provides brief details of other courts. Court of Session opinions are available 1999 onwards, as are judgments of the High Court and Sheriff Court. Judgments of the Sheriff Appeal Court established in 2015 are added as they become available. Opinions pages are updated daily at 2.00 pm. Court rules, practice notes, guidance notes and forms will be found under “Rules and Practice”. The home page carries news relating to the administration of justice, in blog format.
The Commission was established in 1999 as an independent body to examine cases in which there has been an alleged miscarriage of justice. Appropriate cases are then referred by the Commission to the High Court. The web site contains details of referred cases, links to relevant High Court opinions, example case studies and instructions on making an application.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is an agency of the Scottish Government responsible for the protection of the environment in Scotland. Its site includes a wide variety of publications, including consultation documents, a range of guidance documents, and information about SEPA’s regulatory work and initiatives.
The Scottish Government has a range of responsibilities under devolution legislation which include the economy, health, education, justice, rural affairs, housing, environment, transport and taxation. It was established in 1999 as the Scottish Executive, its present name being first adopted in 2007 and formalised in law in 2012. Its web site contains publications 1999 onwards, and a “Consultation Hub” which includes all closed as well as open consultations. There are links to Bills on the Scottish Parliament site, and to Legislation.gov.uk for all UK legislation.
This section of the Scottish Government’s site contains the building standards regulations, Technical Handbooks (domestic and non-domestic) and associated guidance.
This area of the Scottish Government site covers several related topics including building regulations and standards, planning, environmental assessment, planning and environmental assessment appeals, and regeneration. Content includes advice and guidance, technical handbooks, policy documents, circulars, Planning Advice Notes (PANs), and extensive links to legislation.
This site explains the rights of members of the public, and the responsibilities of public authorities, under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. A list of Appeals currently before the Commissioner, and the full text of Decisions already issued (2005 onwards), are available. A link to the 2002 Act together with guidance regarding the various exemptions to its provisions are to be found within “The Law”.
The Scottish Land Court has authority to resolve a range of disputes, including those between landlords and tenants, in agriculture and crofting. The web site contains the rules of the court (in “Using the Court”), digests of cases (taken from the Scottish Land Court Reports) 1982 onwards, information on where to find reported decisions, and “historical background”, which includes links to relevant statutes. Significant decisions (from 2007 onwards) are available on the site itself.
The Scottish Law Commission was set up in 1965 to examine areas where law reform, statute law revision or consolidation might be appropriate, and to make recommendations. All its reports and discussion papers (the latter previously termed consultative memoranda) are available on the web site in PDF. Where applicable there are details of legislation implementing the Commission’s recommendations.
The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) has been managing legal aid in Scotland since its establishment in April 1987, when it took over responsibility from the Law Society of Scotland. Content in the section “For solicitors” includes guidance, information on fees, “solicitor updates” and legislation. Other content includes a link to the Scottish Government’s guide to legal aid on its Mygov.scot site.
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) was established on 1 October 2008, under the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, to investigate complaints by members of the public about services provided by legal practitioners in Scotland. The site has information on the complaints process, the SLCC Rules, complaint forms, annual reports, news, and details of any current consultations.
This research guide, on the GlobaLex web site, covers Scottish legal history from the feudal period through to 1901. Both print and electronic references are listed, some with annotations. The author is Yasmin Morais, Cataloguing Librarian at the Mason Law Library, University of the District of Columbia. The guide was first published in 2008 and has been updated several times, most recently in March/ April 2021 to include sources on the 2014 independence referendum. All earlier versions are also accessible from this page.
Before 1 October 2008, when the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) was established, complaints about the way the Law Society of Scotland or the Faculty of Advocates had handled a complaint against a legal practitioner were dealt with by the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman (SLSO). Annual reports 2000-2001 to 2007-2008 are amongst material still accessible on the SLSO site: since the abolition of the SLSO most other content has been removed.
The Scottish Parliament was re-established in 1999 after an interval of 292 years during which the UK Parliament legislated for Scotland. Its web site contains the Official Report of proceedings and written Questions and Answers, 1999 onwards, standing orders (governing parliamentary procedure), information on Bills in progress, committee papers, members’ biographies and frequent news releases.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), established under the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002, is the final stage for complaints made by members of the public against most public authorities in Scotland. Since 1 October 2010 this includes unresolved complaints about prisons, which prior to that date had been the responsibility of the former Scottish Prisons Complaints Commission (SPCC). There is advice for people wishing to complain, and for authorities complained against. “Findings” contains Investigation Reports – full reports on matters of public interest, laid before the Scottish Parliament – and Decision Reports. “News” includes Ombudsman’s findings, published monthly.
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is responsible for regulating and registering the Scottish social service workforce. Its register is searchable online. Other site content includes the Codes of Practice, Registration Rules and Conduct Rules; recent conduct hearing decisions; consultations; details of the complaints procedure; annual reports; and news.
The Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) is an independent body which deals with serious disciplinary issues, and certain other matters, concerning solicitors in Scotland. Its findings are accessible on the site in full text, December 2004 onwards, together with its procedural rules, annual reports 2009 onwards, and general information in the form of FAQs.
Messengers-at-Arms are officers of the Court of Session whose work involves serving documents and enforcing orders of the court. Sheriff Officers have a similar role with regard to Scotland’s regional civil courts. The Society’s web site provides historical background to the two offices, its code of practice, complaints procedure and directory of members.
The Standards Commission for Scotland was established pursuant to the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 to assure compliance with the Code of Conduct for Councillors and the Code of Conduct for Devolved Public Bodies. (Complaints of alleged breaches of a code are investigated in the first instance by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.) The “Codes of Conduct” section of the web site contains links to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies. Rules for the conduct of hearings are published on the web site, as are full-text decisions, February 2014 onwards and annual reports, 2010/11 onwards.
The London Gazette (first published 1665), Edinburgh Gazette (first published 1699, content available online 1796 onwards) and Belfast Gazette (first published 1921) are the official newspapers of record of the United Kingdom, recording and disseminating a wide range of official, regulatory and legal information. Legal content includes insolvency notices and certain Orders in Council. The free online archive for all three Gazettes is to be found on this website launched early in 2014, each Gazette having previously had its own web presence.
The Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet, or WS Society, is a professional society most of whose members are Scottish solicitors, in law firms or in-house. The web site provides information on the activities of the Society (with a particular emphasis on education and training) and allows access to the online catalogue of the Signet Library, one of the most extensive law libraries in Scotland.