Emergency criminal justice provisions: joint inspection

Joint inspection by HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland of emergency criminal justice provisions.


1. HMICS & IPS, Joint inspection of emergency criminal justice provisions: Terms of Reference (July 2020).

2. Schedule 4, Part 1, Paragraphs 1 and 1A of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (the 2020 Act) and Schedule 4, Part 3, Paragraph 3 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020.

3. Schedule 4, Part 1, Paragraphs 2 to 4 of the 2020 Act.

4. Schedule 4, Part 3 of the 2020 Act.

5. COPFS, Lord Advocate's Guidelines on liberation by the police during Covid-19 (2020).

6. The role of the Justice Board is to lead justice system organisations to deliver the outcomes set out in the Scottish Government's justice strategy.

7. SCTS, Respond, recover, renew – Supporting justice through the pandemic and beyond (August 2020).

8. Schedule 4, Part 1, paragraphs 1(1) and 1(2) enabled the use of electronic signature and electronic transmission of the prescribed documents set out in paragraph 1(4)

9. SP Bill 66-PM Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill [policy memorandum] Session 5 (2020) at paragraphs 153-155.

10. Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules Amendment No.2) (Miscellaneous) 2005, s(3), amending Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules) 1996, Rule 16.4A.

11. Under Part 6 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, the Crown have a legal obligation to disclose certain material information to the defence relating to their client's case, including any information that may be used as evidence in a criminal prosecution.

12. The Crown use the Secure Disclosure System website to facilitate the electronic transmission of documents to defence agents, as well as the Criminal Justice Secure Mail, which enables the transmission of secure email between criminal justice partners, including SCTS, Police Scotland, COPFS and defence agents (who voluntarily sign up to the scheme).

13. Investigation stage, summary prosecutions and solemn prosecutions.

14. Schedule 4, Part 1, Paragraphs 2 to 4.

15. SCTS, SCTS Remote Jury Centres – Next Steps (9 September 2020).

16. Video conferencing facilities had been installed in 19 police custody centres across Scotland, including at centres that were not used to hold people suspected of having Covid-19. At the time of our inspection, this was due to be extended to 22 centres in the coming months.

17. This included St Leonards, Kittybrewster, Falkirk and, from September 2020, Kilmarnock.

18. Law Society of Scotland, Report on the feedback on the experiences of virtual custody courts by Scottish solicitors (July 2020).

19. SCTS, Practice note – virtual custody court pilot (August 2020).

20. EHRC, Inclusive justice: a system designed for all – findings and recommendations (2020) and EHRC, Inclusive justice: a system designed for all – evidence base (2020).

21. We have focused only on virtual trials in the sheriff court, as no virtual trials have taken place in the justice of the peace court.

22. SCTS, Quarterly Criminal Court Statistics – Report 9 – Quarter 1 2020/21.

23. SCTS, Covid-19 Recovery Model: Sheriff Court Summary Trials (August 2020).

24. As at 10 September 2020.

25. Sheriff Principal D C W Pyle, Summary Criminal Virtual Trial Pilot: The Way Ahead – A Strategic Plan (2020).

26. Sheriff Principal D C W Pyle, Summary Criminal Virtual Trial Pilot: The Way Ahead – A Strategic Plan (2020), paragraph 13.

27. Mulcahy, Rowden & Teeder, Exploring the case for virtual jury trials during the Covid-19 crisis: an evaluation of a pilot study conducted by Justice (April 2020).

28. Criminal Courts Practice Note No 1 of 2020, which related to the remote conduct of the summary trials pilot at Aberdeen and Inverness sheriff courts, required that both the prosecutor and the agent for the accused agreed that the case was suitable for trial.

29. See, for example, HMICS, Strategic overview of provision of forensic medical services to victims of sexual crime (2017).

30. This is not an exhaustive list of all the types of procedural diets that exist where electronic attendance can be facilitated. See Direction 1 of 2020 for further specification.

31. Criminal Courts Practice Note No 2 of 2020.

32. Sheriff Appeal Court - Guidance for Practitioners appearing in the Bail Appeal Court.

33. Schedule 4, Part 3. The 2020 Act also provides for the continuation, up to a certain point, of criminal proceedings after the first calling to be heard in any sheriff court by a sheriff of any sheriffdom. For the purpose of our inspection, we have focused on the first calling of the case.

34. SP Bill 66-PM Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill [policy memorandum] Session 5 (2020).

35. Lord Carloway, The Carloway Review – Report and Recommendations (2011).

36. Council of Europe, Report to the Government of the United Kingdom on the visit to the United Kingdom carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 17 to 25 October 2018 (2019).

37. Under section 26 of the 2016 Act, an accused person can be released by the police on the undertaking that they will appear at court at a later date and that they will comply with certain conditions. These conditions are the same as those which can be applied to a bail order granted by a court and include, for example, a requirement not to commit further offences.

38. COPFS & Police Scotland, Joint protocol between Police Scotland and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service – In partnership challenging domestic abuse (2019).

39. Reviews of undertaking conditions imposed by police can be requested under section 30 of the 2016 Act.

40. Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on victims, witnesses and survivors – Evidence from support organisations (Paper for Victims Taskforce, 10 June 2020).

41. Custody review inspectors carry out reviews after a person who is not officially accused has been detained for six or 18 hours and authorises the extension of detention after 12 hours. They are also involved in other processes under the 2016 Act, and act as the key source of advice on any aspect of the legislation.

42. Section 112 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

43. Throughout Appendix 1, percentages have been rounded and therefore may not add up to 100%.

44. Percentages do not add up to 100 because respondents were able to select all the types of proceedings in which they had been involved.


Email: carolyn.sharp@gov.scot

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