Legislation: s227 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995

Caution (pronounced “cay-shon”) is an amount of money that a convicted person pays to the court as a “bond” for good behaviour for a period of time.

s227 of the 1995 Act states that where a person is convicted on indictment of an offence (other than an offence the sentence for which is fixed by law), the court may, instead of or in addition to imposing a fine or a period of imprisonment, ordain (order) the accused to find caution for good behaviour for a period not exceeding 12 months and to such amount as the court considers appropriate.

In summary cases, the maximum amount of caution is “the prescribed sum” (£10,000) in the Sheriff Court, and Level 4 on the standard scale (£2,500) in the Justice of the Peace Court.

If the accused is not of good behaviour (i.e. is convicted of an offence arising during the specified time period), then the amount of caution can be forfeit.

In practice, caution is almost never used nowadays.

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