§ Mr. Raymond S. Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the contribution temporary sheriffs make to the administration of justice in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Lang
The use of temporary sheriffs when permanent sheriffs are unavailable for court work serves to avoid increases in court waiting periods and inconvenience to court users which would result from cancelled sittings. Their use also makes an important contribution to dealing efficiently with temporary increases in court business. A balance must however be maintained between the respective contributions of permanent and temporary sheriffs and I have accordingly decided, following consultation with the sheriffs principal, to increase by three the number of permanent appointments. Applications for these posts will be invited shortly. The successful candidates will be appointed as floating sheriffs to serve in a number of courts.