Criminal business in the Scottish courts progressed around or below average monthly pre-COVID levels during May, according to the latest monthly figures from Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service. 

In a month affected by public holidays, of cases in court:

• 43 High Court evidence led trials commenced, which is 102% of the average pre-COVID level (up from 34 in April); 

• 58 High Court cases were concluded, which is 86% of the average pre-COVID level (up from 53 in April);

• 82 sheriff solemn evidence led trials commenced, which is 87% of the average pre-COVID level (down from 84 in April and 100 in March); 

• 442 sheriff solemn cases were concluded, which is 103% of the average pre-COVID level (down from 463 in April). 

• 433 sheriff summary evidence led trials commenced, which is 75% of the average pre-COVID levels (up from 61% in April).

SCTS also disclosed that 4,181 sheriff summary cases were concluded, which is 88% of the average pre-COVID level.

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

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 three-quarters 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."