Additional trial courts helped boost the number of trials begun last month, according to the latest monthly figures published by Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service.

SCTS's October monthly workbook shows that during September 2021:

  • The overall level of new cases registered was 81% of the average monthly pre-COVID level, compared with 82% in August and 77% in July. Petitions, which provide a useful indicator of future solemn business, were 16% higher than the average monthly pre-COVID level (down from 30% higher in August and 21% in July).
  • The overall level of cases concluded (a newly introduced statistic) was 105% of the average monthly pre-COVID level.
  • 47 High Court evidence led trials commenced, 12% higher than the average pre-COVID level (August saw 55 new trials; July 48).
  • 62 High Court cases were concluded, 92% of the average pre-COVID level (August saw 76 and July 68).
  • 95 sheriff solemn evidence led trials commenced, the same as the average pre-COVID level (up from 83 in August and 76 in July).
  • 439 sheriff solemn cases were concluded which is 102% of the average pre-COVID level (slightly down from 453 in August and 451 in July).
  • 551 sheriff summary evidence led trials commenced, 95% of the average pre-COVID levels (up from 459 in August and 408 in July).
  • 5,186 sheriff summary cases were concluded, 9% higher than the average pre-COVID level (up from 4,654 in August and 4,446 in July).
  • 2,498 justice of the peace cases were concluded which is 98% of the average pre-COVID level (down from 2,797 in August and 3,032 in July).

David Fraser, SCTS executive director, Court Operations commented: “The introduction of additional trial courts in the High and sheriff courts from 6 September is a key element of our recovery programme and the impact is already being felt with criminal trials and throughput operating at, or beyond, pre-COVID levels even though these figures do not yet record a full month of operation of the additional courts. Of particular note is summary throughput at the sheriff court, which rose significantly to 9% higher than the pre-COVID monthly average. 

“The excellent collaboration across the judiciary, justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector is helping to get court business back on track and this remains crucial in delivering the recovery programme. 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