Resumption of summary criminal business from 19 April
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has confirmed that the scheduled resumption of Sheriff Court summary criminal business will go ahead from Monday 19 April.
The majority of summary trials in the Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court had been adjourned since January due to lockdown restrictions, with criminal courts focussed on custody trials and the most serious cases.
In view of the recent easing of lockdown restrictions, Sheriff Court cited cases will re-start on 19 April, with trial courts returning to the pre-January lockdown loadings of three programmed trials and two back-up cases with witnesses on standby. Plans are in place for Justice of the Peace Courts to re-start all business on 7 June.
SCTS chief executive Eric McQueen said: “The safety of staff, judiciary and court users remains our top priority and is central to our plans to safely resume court business on 19 April. Based on the latest COVID data, we are taking a cautious approach to restore summary criminal business to pre-January lockdown levels, in line with the wider phased easing of restrictions announced by the Scottish government.”
“We will continue to be guided by public health advice and to monitor case levels. The extensive measures we have in place to ensure the safest possible working environment will be maintained, to minimise potential transmission so the courts can continue to operate safely.”
In relation to other business types, all criminal jury trials in the High Court and Sheriff Court will continue as planned and all new custody cases and summary custody trials in the Sheriff Courts and Justice of the Peace courts will continue to be heard.
All intermediate diets, priority trials and remand hearings in the Sheriff Court will continue. All High Court criminal appeals, civil appeals and the Sheriff Appeal Court, Bail Appeal Court, Office of the Public Guardian and tribunals will continue to operate virtually and remotely, as they have been doing throughout the pandemic.
Similarly, the vast majority of civil business in the Court of Session, Scottish Land Court and Sheriff Court will continue to be conducted remotely. This includes the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court (ASPIC).