Friday, 13 May 2016

Restrictions on NRS sheriff court records

Thanks to Jack Davis via the LinkedIn page of the Scottish Genealogy Network ( for flagging up that the recent decision to restrict access to records at the National Records of Scotland ( in fact goes considerably beyond divorce records.

The following Sheriff Courts records have in fact been restricted by a one hundred year closure period, as they may "contain sensitive personal data, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998, the disclosure of which is likely to cause substantial damage or distress to the subject of the data":

• Criminal libels and indictments
• Records of criminal jury trials
• Juvenile court records
• High court circuit trial appearing before the sheriff court
• Divorces
• Family actions relating to children, e.g. separation; affiliation; paternity aliment; custody & access

As with any proposed research at an archive, it is worth enquiring in advance if the records of interest can be consulted.

(With thanks to Jack)


My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs course starts Monday 17th May - see For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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