Objectives The objectives of this study were to: (i) establish whether the spinocerebellar ataxia type 8 (SCA 8) expansion is associated with ataxia in Scotland; (ii) test the hypothesis that SCA 8 is associated with neuropsychological impairment; and (iii) review neuroradiological findings in SCA 8. Methods The methods included: (i) measurement of SCA 8 expansion frequencies in ataxic patients and healthy controls; (ii) comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of patients with SCA 8 and matched controls, neuropsychiatric interview; and (iii) comparison of patient and matched control magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Results (i) 10/694 (1.4%) unrelated individuals with ataxia had combined CTA/CTG repeat expansions > 100 compared to 1/1190 (0.08%) healthy controls (P < 0.0005); (ii) neuropsychological assessment revealed a dysexecutive syndrome among SCA 8 patients, not readily explained by motor or mood disturbance; neuropsychiatric symptoms occurred commonly; (iii) cerebellar atrophy was the only salient MRI abnormality in the patient group. Conclusions The SCA 8 expansion is associated with ataxia in Scotland. The disorder is associated with a dysexecutive syndrome.