Petitions at lowest level in nine months
Petitions are at their lowest level in nine months and are five per cent lower than the average monthly pre-Covid level, according to new figures from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS).
This shows the volumes of cases being progressed each month in the High Court, Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Courts from April 2020, compared against the monthly averages for 2019/20 (pre-Covid).
- The overall level of new cases registered is 65 per cent of the average monthly pre-Covid level.
- Remote jury centres enabled 43 High Court evidence led trials to commence which is slightly higher than the average monthly pre-Covid level of 42, showing that High Court trial court capacity was achieved.
- Remote jury centres were extended across Scotland to re-start sheriff court jury trials, and 30 evidence led trials occurred.
- Evidence led summary trials in the Sheriff Courts are 30 per cent of the average monthly pre-Covid levels which was to be expected following the adjournment of non-priority and non-custody trials announced on 11 January, 2021.
- The majority of criminal cases are resolved without the need for a trial and the total volume of cases concluded was 3,070 which is 39 per cent of the average monthly pre-Covid level.
David Fraser, chief of court operations, said: “Our court buildings continue to operate in accordance with guidance from Public Health Scotland to safeguard our staff, judiciary and court users.
“We announced on 12 February 2021 that non-custody and non-priority summary trials due to call until the end of March will be adjourned and we anticipate that this will increase the summary trial backlog further. Solemn business continues to be prioritised and since the first full month’s criminal programme in September, we can see further progress towards pre-Covid levels.
“We will continue to publish these figures on a monthly basis which will show the progress we are making and challenges we face against the backdrop of a global pandemic.”