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What are the differences between Scots and English law?


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Answered 2011-06-13 16:20:22

Here's a list.

  • The age where someone is legally considered an adult is 16 in Scotland but 18 in England.
  • The age someone can get married at is 18 in England, but 16 in Scotland. (Or 14 with parental consent)
  • Due to the differences in definitions of marriage, there's technically much less stopping the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Scotland than there is in England.
  • Westminster still has the power to place any law on Scotland without it's people's consent.
  • In elections in England, they vote for the prime minister of the whole of the United Kingdom. In elections in Scotland, they vote for the First Minister of Scotland - While England doesn't have a parliament devoted to them specifically (whereas Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland do), England is the only constituent country of the UK who is able to vote on who the Prime Minister of the whole of the UK is.
  • Some aging laws in Scotland still refer to the king of Scotland.
  • Some aging laws in England still refer to invading Scots carrying bows and/or swords.
  • Whereas the English Freedom of Information Act (2002) affects all public bodies, the Scottish Freedom of Information Act (2002) doesn't affect the ministry of defence or UK-wide bodies that are based in Scotland. They're still tied to the Scottish Freedom of Information Act (2000)
  • English acts of law are all written in English, where as Acts of law in Scotland can be written in any of the three languages spoken in Scotland. (Scots, Gàidhlig, or English)

If anyone knows any others, please add.

  • Juries consist of 15 members, rather than 12 in England
  • Juries can decide verdicts with a simple majority, whereas in England they rely on consensus
  • Criminals cannot make the choice between whether to have a jury trial or judge trial
  • Judges can give a third verdict - "Not Proven", also known as the Scottish Verdict. This has the same effect as a "Not Guilty" verdict, but it is used when the judge does not believe the victim is innocent, but that there is not sufficient evidence to justify a conviction.
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