Scottish Courts & Tribunal Service
Criminal Registered & Scheduled Trials
Since lockdown, there have been 52,074 criminal registrations in the courts. 224 of these registrations have been COVID-19 related (0.4%).
In November 2020, all types of court registration were lower than 2019-20 averages:
- The number of indictments registered in the High Court is 62% lower than 19-20 average levels.
- The number of indictments registered in the Sheriff court (solemn cases) is 9% lower than the 19-20 average.
- The number of complaints (summary cases) registered in the Sheriff Court is 20% lower than the 19-20 average.
- Complaints registered in the JP court are 56% lower than the 19-20 average.
|Cases Registered||19-20 monthly average||November
|Change from 19-20 monthly average||Outstanding (scheduled) trials|
|Pre- lockdown||November 2020|
At the end of November there were 33,590 trials outstanding. This compares to 18,355 at the end of 2019-20. In addition, SCTS have forecast that there are another 5,271 cases in the system which are likely to come to trial but have not yet had a trial date set (see SCTS published monthly criminal statistics for a more detail - https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/official-statistics)
In November 2020 there were 6,077 disposals (excluding secondary disposals and the ‘other’ disposal category) from Scotland’s courts. This is 83% of the 19-20 monthly average of 7,278 and 8% lower than October 2020.
However, as a result of lockdown, between April and November 2020 there were 27,872 (47%) fewer disposals compared to the same time the previous year.
If courts had not been subject to lockdown and crime levels had remained the same we could have expected the number of April to November 2020 court disposals to be similar to April to November 2019 levels.
From April to November of 2020, there have been 44% fewer custodial sentences and 57% fewer community disposals imposed by the courts than might have been expected under normal circumstances.
30 November 2020
|Monthly average 2019-20||Nov
|Apr-Nov 2019||Apr-Nov 2020||Change
|Community Disposal (CPO & DTTO)||1,384||1,185||
|Restriction of Liberty Order||296||354||+19%||2,367||1,417||
Overall, the number of crimes recorded by the police between April and November 2020 was 6% lower than the same period in 2019. It will take time for these cases to move through the courts system and it is unlikely that many of these cases are included in the disposal figures above. Any changes in crime levels may have associated impacts on volumes of court business and disposals.
Latest SCTS published official statistics can be found here: https://scotcourts.gov.uk/official-statistics
Sheriff Court Civil Case Volumes
Case initiations and disposals
Initiations and Disposals (of all types) in the Sheriff Civil Courts remain low, but are recovering to 19-20 typical levels (dotted lines) as the courts continue to emerge from lockdown.
Sheriff Court initiated and disposed cases by procedure
Initiated case numbers for ordinary cause and simple procedure are returning to 2019-20 monthly average levels. Summary cause is lower than 2019-20 levels, while small claims have largely been replaced by simple procedure.
Likewise, disposed cases for ordinary cause and simple procedure are returning to 2019-20 levels, while summary cause are much lower. In addition to lower volumes across all procedures, summary cause figures were heavily influenced by the emergency legislation which protects tenants during the pandemic, brought into force in April 2020 as part of Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. The provisions of the Act, although temporary in nature, have now been extended until 31 March 2021.
|Procedures||Jul||Aug||Sept||Oct||Nov||2019/20 monthly average|
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.
In November 2020, most initiated and disposed cases were below 2019-20 levels.
- All initiated case types presented are gradually returning to 2019-20 levels, with month to month variation. Family cases are higher than 2019-20 monthly average.
- In November, for disposals, Family and Debt had returned to 2019-20 levels, but Children’s Referrals and Personal Injury were lower than 2019-20 average levels.
|Initiated Cases (Nov 20)||Case Type||Disposed Cases (Nov 20)|
|November 2020||Change from 19-20||October 2020||Change from 19-20|
|1,176||112% of 19-20 average month
|Family||945||104% of 19-20 average month
|368||61% of 19-20 average month
|Children’s Referrals||173||67% of 19-20 average month
|2,594||90% of 19-20 average month
|Debt||2,366||100% of 19-20 average month
|261||65% of 19-20 average month
|Personal Injury||212||69% of 19-20 average month
Latest published Civil Justice Statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/civil-justice-statistics-scotland-2018-19/
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