Court Procedures in Scotland

Before you appear in court

 When a person is arrested in Scotland there are a few different things which can happen:

  • Once you have been arrested, you will immediately be released and informed to turn up at court once they are cited* to do so. In this case the citation is a document which is delivered to you at your permanent address and tells you the date, place and time where you should appear at court;
  • You could be detained for a short period of time and then released on an undertaking to appear at court and told what date you should appear and where;
  • You will be detained at a police station to appear at court on the next working day. The next working day is the next day in which the court is operating (e.g. if you are arrested on a Tuesday evening the next day would be Wednesday but if you are arrested on a Friday evening then the next day would be Monday (or Tuesday if there is a public holiday on Monday) and you would be detained until then).

When you appear in court 

On the day you appear at court there will be a duty solicitor made available for anyone who does not have legal representation. All firms who offer criminal legal aid in a given area take turns at being the duty solicitor at the courts.  If you are looking to find your own legal representation for a criminal court matter we would suggest using some of the following methods for locating a solicitor:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau: The Citizens Advice Bureau is a voluntary organization throughout Scotland which provides access to free advice on many issues. Included in this service is the ability to assist with finding a solicitor should you require one.
  • Phone directory (Yellow Pages, Thomson Local): Nearly all solicitors firms are listed in the local telephone directories. If you search under ‘criminal’ or ‘defence’ lawyers then you will find listed firms who specialize in this area. You will be able to look up local telephone directories at most public libraries.
  •  List of Scottish Law Firms If you still find that you are having problems finding legal representation please click here for a list of solicitors in certain areas of Scotland who have expressed they would be willing to assist U.S citizens in criminal cases.