COVID-19: New court arrangements in place

COVID-19: New court arrangements in place

All Sheriff Court business has been consolidated into 10 courts across Scotland.

In response to the government restrictions on movement during the emergency, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is now moving to the next phase of its contingency plans.

Courts have already ceased all jury trials, adjourned all but essential summary criminal trials, adjourned all civil hearings involving witnesses and tribunals will only proceed with essential hearings by audio conference.

Supreme Courts

The Court of Session will continue to sit in Parliament House dealing with essential civil business – all other business will be continued as required. Urgent business includes: child abduction petitions, interim interdicts and other urgent matters on cause shown.  Urgent business should be emailed to

The High Court will continue to sit in Lawnmarket and Saltmarket. The court will continue to deal with preliminary hearings and adjourn trials.

Sheriff and JP Courts

From today all court business, other than undertakings will be consolidated within sheriffdoms, into 10 sheriff courts, as detailed:

Glasgow & Strathkelvin

  • Glasgow Sheriff and JP Court

Lothian & Borders

  • Edinburgh Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Livingston, Selkirk & Jedburgh)

Tayside, Central & Fife

  • Dundee Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Forfar and Perth)
  • Falkirk Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Stirling, Alloa, Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy)

Grampian, Highland & Islands

  • Inverness Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Elgin, Tain, Wick and the Island Courts).  Island custody courts will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
  • Aberdeen Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Peterhead and Banff)

North Strathclyde

  • Paisley Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Greenock and Dumbarton)
  • Kilmarnock Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Dunoon, Oban and Campbeltown)

South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway

  • Hamilton Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring Airdrie, Lanark and Ayr)
  • Dumfries Sheriff and JP Court (business transferring from Stranraer)

Appearance from Undertaking

Undertakings will continue to call in the court specified on the undertaking where possible. Where the specified court is not one of the 10 listed above the specified court will open only to hear the undertaking case(s). 

Civil Business

If you have urgent civil business please contact the appropriate court, from the 10 listed above, to arrange for the case or application to be dealt with. Urgent business includes: new applications for child protection orders, interim interdicts, child referral appeals, urgent adoptions or urgent interim residence or contact applications and urgent applications in relation to Adults with Incapacity.

Out of Hours

Normal out of hours arrangements will apply.

Video links between courts and police custody  

In another measure to reduce risk, all accused persons with symptoms of COVID-19 appearing from custody will have their case conducted via video link.  We are also working hard to extend this to all custodies – and are developing an approach that will allow agents to represent clients by telephone.

Health and Safety

In line with government advice these courts will not be accessible to the general public. Robust social distancing and enhanced cleaning regimes will be in place throughout the working day, with regular sterilisation of touch points and other areas of increased exposure.  If you see anything that concerns you, get in touch with a local manager so that the issue can be resolved.

See SLN’s latest COVID-19 updates here

Share icon
Share this article: