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Thursday, March 1, 2012

ISBN: 9781780456980

This report presents the findings from the Summary Justice Reform: Undertakings Evaluation. The research formed part of a wider package of work to evaluate Summary Justice Reform (SJR) in Scotland as a whole. The aim of the research was to evaluate how far the reforms to undertakings had met both the specific policy objectives as well as the overarching aims and objectives of SJR.

Executive Summary

The undertakings evaluation found that:

• Post-reform, undertakings are being used for a wider range of charge types;

• Undertakings cases are generally reaching court within the target 28 days, thus meeting the objective of being quick getting to court;

However, progress through the court is not as smooth, with undertakings cases now having a higher average number of diets per case than cited or remand cases. There has also been a reduction in the proportion of undertakings cases concluding at first diet, and while average end to end time for undertakings cases is still less than for cited cases, it has been steadily increasing since 2009.

The research found two factors that may be negatively impacting on how quickly some cases progress through court. First, police, Procurators Fiscal, and defence agents reported struggling to prepare for the pleading diet in the target 28 days, resulting in a need for further hearings. Second, undertakings are now being used in more complex kinds of cases, which may require more court time and more diets to resolve than the drink driving cases that undertakings were traditionally used for.