Information on criminal case throughput for November

Dec 15, 2020

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service has published today the third monthly workbook to show the throughput of criminal cases in our courts.

This shows the volumes of cases being progressed each month in the High Court,  Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Courts from April 2020, compared against the monthly averages for 2019/20 (pre-COVID). The figures show that during the month of November:

  • The overall level of new cases registered is 69% of the average monthly pre-COVID level.
  • Petitions, which provide a useful indicator of future solemn business, are 9% higher than the average monthly pre-COVID level.
  • With the introduction of remote jury centres, High Court evidence led trials are 17% higher than the average monthly pre-COVID level showing that the normal capacity for 16 trials per day has been successfully restored. Since July, increases in Preliminary and Continued Preliminary hearings have been scheduled to enable resolution or to allow trial diets to be assigned that were unable to progress during the peak of the pandemic.
  • Remote jury centres are being extended across Scotland to re-start sheriff court jury trials, with Lothian and Borders and Glasgow and Strathkelvin having commenced at the beginning of December. The other Sheriffdoms will follow in the early part of 2021.
  • Evidence led summary trials in the Sheriff Courts are 85% of the average monthly pre-COVID levels.
  • The majority of criminal cases are resolved without the need for a trial and the total volume of cases concluded was 80% of the average monthly pre-COVID level. 

Eric McQueen, Chief Executive said:

“Our courts are open for business, with stringent measures in place to enable them to operate in a safe manner, protecting the health of our staff, judiciary and court users.

“Since the first full month’s criminal programme in September, we can see continued progress towards pre-COVID levels.

“While these are encouraging signs in getting back to normal operating levels, scheduled cases are twice the normal level and the average waiting period for trials has doubled to 12 months in the High Court, 15 months in Sheriff Solemn and 6 months in Sheriff Summary. We are working closely with the judiciary, Scottish Government, justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector to find solutions to reduce delays.

“We will continue to publish these figures on a monthly basis which will show the progress we are making and challenges we still face against the backdrop of a global pandemic.”


The workbook is available at:

Right-hand Menu