Publication - Statistics

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Justice Analytical Services data report - August 2021

Monthly data report on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the justice system in Scotland, including information from Police Scotland, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, and Scottish Prison Service.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Justice Analytical Services data report - August 2021
Sheriff Court Civil Case Volumes

Sheriff Court Civil Case Volumes

Initiations and disposals

Initiations in the Sheriff Civil Courts remain lower than the 2019-20 typical levels, while disposals have almost returned to 2019-20 levels (see dotted lines). In August there were increases in both initiations and disposals from the previous month.

Chart: Initiations and disposals
Line graph showing case volumes remain low, but are recovering to 2019-20 typical levels.

Sheriff Court cases by procedure

Initiated case numbers for ordinary cause and simple procedure are returning to 2019-20 monthly average levels, with month to month variation. Both procedures increased from the previous month in line with overall initiations. Simple procedure initiations in August increased by over 40% from the previous month. Summary cause is much lower than 2019-20 levels, and decreased slightly from the previous month. Small claims have largely been replaced by simple procedure.

Likewise, disposed cases for ordinary cause and simple procedure are returning to 2019-20 levels. Ordinary cause disposals in August were higher than the 2019-20 average levels. Summary cause disposals are returning to 2019-20 monthly average levels, but have been lower than the recent high in June, for the last two months.

Summary cause figures are heavily influenced by the emergency legislation which protected tenants during the pandemic, brought into force in April 2020 as part of Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. The provisions of the Act expired on 30 March 2021.

Procedures Apr-21 May-21 Jun-21 Jul-21 Aug-21 2019/20 monthly average
Initiated            
Ordinary cause 1,676 1,838 1,796 1,753 1,856 1,928
Summary cause 181 274 266 303 287 1,132
Small claim 0 0 0 0 0 2
Simple procedure 1,369 2,311 1,680 1,267 1,824 2,695
Total initiated 3,226 4,423 3,742 3,323 3,967 5,758
Disposed            
Ordinary cause 1,254 1,374 1,638 1,400 1,501 1,445
Summary cause 724 794 848 556 658 1,096
Small claim 0 0 26 8 18 5
Simple procedure 2,000 2,079 1,928 1,772 1,892 2,306
Total disposed 3,978 4,247 4,440 3,736 4,069 4,852

1. Figures exclude summary applications.
2. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.
3. Excludes Sheriff Personal Injury Court.

Focus on case types

  • The case types presented below show gradual return to 2019-20 levels of initiation, with some month to month variation. Family cases in August were higher than the 2019-20 average levels, while the other case types shown are lower.
  • Similar to initiated cases, there was an increase in overall disposals in August. All the case types presented below increased from the previous month save for Personal Injury.
Initiated Cases (Aug 2021) Disposed Cases (Aug 2021)
Case Type Aug 2021 Change from 19-20 Aug 2021 Change from 19-20

Family
1,183 112% of 19-20 average month (1,055 cases) 1,000 110% of 19-20 average month (910 cases)
Children's Referrals 429 71% of 19-20 average month (602 cases) 133 51% of 19-20 average month (260 cases)
Debt 2,096 72% of 19-20 average month (2,883 cases) 2,137 90% of 19-20 average month (2,368 cases)
Personal Injury 235 59% of 19-20 average month (402 cases) 197 64% of 19-20 average month (306 cases)

Further Information:

Latest published Civil Justice Statistics can be found here:
https://www.gov.scot/publications/civil-justice-statistics-scotland-2019-20/


Contact

Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot