The Office of Sheriff in Scotland is now principally a judicial one. The Sheriff Courts have a very wide criminal and civil jurisdiction - considerably wider than the jurisdiction of the Crown Courts and the County Courts in England.
The holder of the Office of Sheriff Principal is, however, the direct descendant of the King's peace-keeping officer of feudal times, and continues to exercise administrative and executive functions within his Shrievalty.
Within his own Shrievalty the Sheriff Principal takes precedence immediately after the Lord-Lieutenant. All Sheriffs Principal are addressed as 'My Lord' or 'My Lady' on the Bench, and as 'Sheriff Smith' formally, socially and on retirement.