Justices of the Peace

Discover details about ancestors that served as Justices of the Peace in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, between 1853 and 1974.

​What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • name of the person

  • when they served as a Justice of the Peace

  • where they served as a Justice of the Peace

​What records can I find in The Mitchell: Glasgow City Archives?

Justices of the Peace (JPs) are local judges who deal with more minor crimes. In Scotland, the office of Justice of the Peace dates back to 1609, and originally involved administrative, policing and judicial functions.


Glasgow City Archives holds various records which detail the life and career of JPs, for: 

  • Glasgow, 1893 - 1974

  • Renfrew, 1858 - 1974

  • Lanark, 1853 - 1973

  • Dumbarton, 1879, with annotations for later years


In some cases the records provide Justices’ addresses, occupations and dates of death. The main records useful for family historians are commissions of the peace, lists of Justices, oaths of allegiance and lists of Justices’ deaths and resignations.


Post Office Directories also contain alphabetical lists of JPs. Directories for Glasgow covering 1787 to 1978 can be consulted in Special Collections or the City Archives.

​What records can I see online?

Post Office Directories can be accessed at the website of the National Library of Scotland

​What records can I see elsewhere?

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) holds records of Justices of the Peace for much of Scotland. Records for some areas are held locally; further details can be found on the NRS website.

​What other resources will help me find information?


The National Records of Scotland has produced a guide to Justice of the Peace records.



A Rosie, ed., 'Guide to the National Archives of Scotland' (The Stationery Office, 1994), pp163-167

Johan Findlay, 'All manner of people: The history of Justices of the Peace in Scotland' (Edinburgh, 2000)