Volume of trials scheduled rises by 14 per cent

Volume of trials scheduled rises by 14 per cent

The volume of trials scheduled in Scotland has risen by 14 per cent in a year.

The growth is attributable in the main to High Court business being 45.5 per cent higher than a year ago and Sheriff summary business being 24 per cent higher than last year.

No trials have called since the start of the coronavirus crisis, which means that trials scheduled will have continued to grow further.

The eighth statistical bulletin from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service contains provisional quarterly figures on activity in all High, Sheriff, Justice of the Peace and criminal appeal courts with national trends as well as detailed figures for local courts in solemn and summary criminal business.

QCC report 8 has been produced against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. Most court buildings closed during March 2020 under public health guidance and, as a result, the data for the month of March 2020 may not be complete. Hence a provisional marking applies to figures in the report.

It also shows that the number of appeals registered in 2019/20 is down by 16% since 2014/15 with appeal against sentence the most common type of appeal.

David Fraser, chief operations officer, said: “The QCC bulletin and interactive workbook provide open and transparent access to activity in the criminal courts and include comprehensive figures such as the national total of trials called; the total of trials where evidence was led; trials scheduled, as well as trials adjourned due to lack of court time. Information on summary and solemn business is available for each court individually with access to useful graphs and tables.

“I am delighted that we have been able to publish these figures in spite of the difficulties caused by the global pandemic. I am pleased, too, to note that criminal appeals data has been included in a full year of QCC bulletins to further complete the information available on criminal cases.

“This publication is intended to be of use to anyone with an interest in the flow of activity through Scotland’s criminal courts and is expected to be of particular interest to legal practitioners and researchers.”

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