Quarterly Criminal Court figures show rise in cases concluded

Mar 04, 2021

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service quarterly statistical bulletin is published today providing quarterly Official Statistics on criminal case activity in Scotland.

The bulletin contains 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.

The eleventh QCC bulletin shows further progress in court recovery in the quarter preceding the second COVID lockdown:

  • 18,586 cases were concluded in this quarter which is almost the same as Quarters 1 and 2 combined (18,678). 
  • The volume of trials scheduled has risen during the pandemic with an 11% rise in this quarter to 34,283.
  • In the High Court, 106 evidence led trials proceeded in the quarter due to remote jury centres running at full capacity. This is three times the number of trials as Quarter 2 (36).
  • Evidence led Sheriff Summary trials were 1.7 times higher in Quarter 3 (1,369) than Quarter 2 (802).

Commenting on the new figures Executive Director Court Operations David Fraser said: “Since re-opening in June, our courts look and feel very different. COVID-19, while reducing our courtroom capacity, has also changed the way cases are handled, with increased electronic transmission, reduction in physical attendance and greater use of remote hearings, virtual hearings and the introduction of remote jury centres. Stringent measures are in place to enable them to operate in a safe manner, protecting the health of our staff, judiciary and court users.

“While there are encouraging signs that our new ways of working lifted operating levels, backlogs remain. We continue to work closely with the judiciary, Scottish Government, justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector to find and implement solutions to reduce this.”

The QCC statistics, which give quarterly figures down to individual courts level, is augmented by the SCTS monthly workbook which contains national trends on the throughput of criminal cases in our courts. The next workbook, covering February 2021, will be published on 16 March.



•         The Quarterly Criminal Court Statistics report is available at:   

•         The ‘COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Renew – Supporting Justice through the pandemic and beyond’ report, and the four analytical modelling reports for High Courts, Sheriff Solemn, Sheriff Summary and Justice of the Peace Court trials that support it, are available here:   

•         The QCC bulletin does not cover court cases relating to civil business.

•         Trials scheduled is the count of complaints or indictments that have a trial diet assigned but are yet to call in court.

•         See the Scottish Government’s website for criminal statistics relating to people, offence types and sentencing as well as civil justice:   

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