Throughput of criminal cases in the Scottish courts increased in June, as the last remaining levels of court returned to business, according to the latest monthly workbook published by Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service.

The figures show that during June: 

  • 47 High Court evidence led trials commenced, up from 43 in May and 12% higher than the average pre-COVID level; 
  • 62 High Court cases were concluded, up from 58 in May and 92% of the average pre-COVID level;
  • 88 sheriff solemn evidence led trials commenced, 93% of the average pre-COVID level (up from 82 in May and the highest number since March). 
  • 459 sheriff solemn cases were concluded, 107% of the average pre-COVID level, compared with 442 in May and 463 in April;
  • 471 sheriff summary evidence led trials commenced, 81% of the average pre-COVID levels and up from 433 in May; 
  • 4,547 sheriff summary cases were concluded, 95% of the average pre-COVID level and up from 4,181 in May. 

The overall level of new cases registered was 81% of the average monthly pre-COVID level, compared with 79% in May and 85-86% in March and April. Petitions, which provide a useful indicator of future solemn business, were 17% higher than the average monthly pre-COVID level, compared with 16% in May and 24% in April.

David Fraser, executive director, Court Operations at SCTS commented: "Jury trials in the High Court and sheriff courts continue to operate at pre-COVID capacity following the successful introduction of remote jury centres.

"Sheriff court summary criminal trials recommenced on 19 April with gradual increasing of trial loadings from 17 May, where this could be safely accommodated, and these have already returned to four-fifths of the pre-COVID average. Justice of the peace business restarted on 7 June. 

"The excellent collaboration across the judiciary, justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector has helped get court business back on track and this remains crucial in planning for the recovery programme commencing in September. We will continue to publish these figures on a monthly basis to illustrate the progress we are making and the challenges still being faced."

The workbook is available at www.scotcourts.gov.uk/official-statistics