The Law and The Lawyers of Peebles

And so from, say, 1840 to 1990 - 150 years - the law was, and still is, being practised in Peebles by, over the period, some thirty individual lawyers. What tales could they tell, but that was what they were never allowed to do!            

Peebles Sheriff Court, now and for many years at the south-west end of Cuddy Bridge next to the Parish Church steps, has functioned for the whole period with which we are concerned, and still does. It is now the 'Sheriff Court of the Lothians & Borders at Peebles' . Sitting basically only one day per week for both civil and criminal cases (though five days for all administration and executory purposes), its presiding sheriff has invariably been Edinburgh-based (and resident) who sits as sheriff also in the Edinburgh Court.

Until the mid-1970s, the Peebles sheriff was not involved in Edinburgh but also covered the court in Selkirk and in view of this, one Sheriff James Aikman Smith, chose, as happened in earlier days, to live in Peebles for his time of about ten years here from 1949/50 onwards. Not only did he run his court well and strictly, but took part and rode in the March Ridings of both Peebles and Selkirk.

Of the several sheriffs succeeding him, should be noted Sheriff Isabel L. Sinclair who held the office for a number of years in the 1970s and was the first woman sheriff in Peebles.

The Sheriff Court still continues as part of the Lothians & Borders Sheriffdom, to this day, its sittings much as above.

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