Social Work Law in Scotland
This chapter provides a brief outline of key aspects of Scottish law, which are relevant to social work practitioners. The Social Work Act 1968 for example underpinned the creation of local authority social work departments in Scotland. Social work services have always been structured differently in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK. The sheriff court is a local court with both civil and criminal jurisdiction. The sheriff court's civil jurisdiction is wide: many types of actions can be raised, such as, debt, divorce, disputes relating to children, contract and personal injury. The sheriff court has wide criminal jurisdiction but it is excluded from the most serious crimes, such as murder or rape. There are two branches of the legal profession in Scotland: advocates and solicitors. Legal aid is available for both advice and assistance and criminal and civil proceedings in court.