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Previous years have been archived.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
12/02/2024 Sheriff Nicola Patrick - Dunoon Sheriff Court PF v Scott Currie Defence Granted Sheriff conducted lengthy criminal case in which the complainer in this criminal case was found not guilty. Sheriff heard evidence from two of the children together with an expert witness in relation to potential coaching and manipulation of the children, and has formed a view in relation to that evidence. In addition submissions were invited in relation to recusal and the Defender was seeking the Sheriff to recuse herself.
12/01/2024 Sheriff Anthony McGlennan - Stranraer Sheriff Court STR-F59-23 Ex proprio motu Granted The Sheriff had presided over a previous action involving a different child in which the current defender had opposed a counterclaim for contact to which he rejected her objections to contact and made an order in favour of that childs father.  Defender made a subsequent judicial complaint regarding Sheriff's conduct during the action, which was investigated and Sheriff was exonerated. The defender's solicitor submitted that his client considered that the Sheriff should recuse himself in light of the aforementioned involvement in her other case and the subsequent complaint on the basis that the perception of partiality may be obtained.
11/01/2024 Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown - Dundee Sheriff Court Katie McKenzie v Christopher Sinclair Katie McKenzie (Pursuer) Refused The Sheriff refused to recuse for the following reasons: (i) and (iii) As a general rule, a previous finding or previous findings by a judge against a party will rarely, of themselves, provide a ground for disqualification. (ii) [The Sheriff's] husband's relative is neither a witness nor a party to the action. (iv) [The Sheriff] am not listed on the pursuer's list of witnesses.
03/01/2024 Sheriff V Lunny - Glasgow Sheriff Court GLW-F1148-21 Ex proprio motu Granted The Sheriff's son and the daughter of the parties attend the same Primary School.