SCTS: Number of cases concluded up 15 per cent
The number of cases concluded in 2022/23 rose by 15 per cent from 2021/22, according to the latest statistical bulletin from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.
The 20th QCC bulletin also shows the sustained impact of the 16 additional trial courts introduced in September 2021 with the number of trials scheduled falling by 10 per cent to 27,406 at the end of March 2023 compared to the previous quarter end (30,305).
The bulletin records that:
- There were 85,859 first instance criminal cases registered in Scottish courts in 2022/23, which is 81 per cent of the pre-Covid volume in 2019/20.
- Evidence led trials rose by 21 per cent to 9,051 in 2022/23 compared to 7,505 in 2021/22.
- A total of 99,671 cases concluded in 2022/23 – an increase of 15 per cent from 2021/22 and 98 per cent of pre-Covid levels.
- In 2022/23 domestic abuse cases accounted for 24 per cent of Sheriff Summary registrations; 27 per cent of Sheriff Summary trials called and 34 per cent of Sheriff Summary trials in which evidence was led.
SCTS executive director, court operations, David Fraser, said: “I am delighted to mark five years of SCTS proactivity and transparency in criminal statistics with the publication of QCC 20.
“The latest figures show the volume of scheduled trials has reduced by 36 per cent since the peak in winter 2021/22. This is a 68 per cent reduction in the trial backlog caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
“Through the court recovery programme we are aiming to return to a point where the number of scheduled cases being prepared for trial is around 20,000.
“Given the progress being made on the summary backlog we have now switched court recovery resources from summary to solemn, with the introduction of a further 2 additional High Court and 6 additional Sheriff Solemn trial courts. Solemn cases, which involves the most serious crimes, are more challenging as the long term trend of increasing case levels continued throughout the pandemic. Our modelling projects that with the new resources in place High Court cases will return to the revised baseline by March 2025 and Sheriff Solemn cases by March 2026.
“We continue to make progress due to the excellent collaboration across the judiciary, justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector which has helped get court business back on track. This collaboration remains crucial during the recovery programme and the anticipated increase in solemn case registrations.”