The role of a judge is to interpret and apply the law without bias or prejudice. Judges have a duty to sit on the cases allocated to them based primarily on their availability, and must deal with them efficiently avoiding unnecessary delay.

Declinature of jurisdiction, or recusal, refers to the act of a judicial office holder abstaining from taking part in legal proceedings due to a conflict of interest; or in cases where their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Judges can decline to sit; or parties to a case can object to the judge’s involvement by making a motion for declinature. This might involve financial interest or a close family relationship. 

More minor conflicts may be declared before the court. The parties to the case can then either object to the judge’s involvement or proceed based on agreement that the interest is suitably insignificant.

Cases where senators, temporary judges, sheriffs principal, sheriffs, summary sheriffs, justices of the peace, or a member of a Scottish tribunal, grant or refuse a formal motion for recusal, or recuse themselves of their own accord, in open court, are recorded for the current year in the table below.

Previous years have been archived.




Date JOH & Court/Chamber Case Name/Reference Motion By Refused /Granted Reason
20/04/2023 Sheriff Derek O'Carroll - Edinburgh Sheriff Court SCS/2022-088193 & SCS/2022-088194 Ex Proprio Motu Granted Sheriff knows complainer and his family in one charge, to which accused pleaded guilty, so cannot sentence on the indictments.
15/03/2023 Sheriff Anthony McGlennan - Stranraer Sheriff Court PF v David Hill Ex proprio motu Granted Due to to the locus of the incident being the flat next door to the Sheriff's local residence. The complainer residing at the address. The Sheriff does not know his neighbours but does see the family going about their daily business when he comes and goes from the flat. The Sheriff's property shares a back garden and the properties share a a common dividing wall. The Sheriff would be recognised by the witnesses.
24/02/2023 Ann Marie Whiteside - Health and Education Chamber FTS/HEC/AR/22/0128 Ex Proprio Motu Granted <div>The child in the case attends the same school as my daughter.&nbsp;<span style="background-color: initial; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">A witness for the respondent is known to me in their professional capacity as I liaise with them regarding the needs of my daughter.</span></div>