Investigation and prosecution of sheriff solemn cases: thematic review

The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland's review of the investigation and prosecution of sheriff solemn cases.


1. Paragraph 1.2, The Independent Review of Sheriff and Jury Procedure, Sheriff Principal Bowen (2010) –

2. Release on condition to appear at court on a certain date.

3. Submission of a Standard Police Report (SPR).

4. Criminal Procedure Act 1701 (c.6): see also Herron V A.B.C. & D., 1977 S.L.T. (Sh. Ct.) 24.

5. Section 196 of the 1995 Act.

6. Section 71(1) of the 1995 Act.

7. Sections 3(3) and 211(1) of the 1995 Act

8. Glasgow and Strathkelvin; Grampian, Highlands and Islands; Lothian and Borders; North Strathclyde; South Strathclyde and Tayside, Central and Fife.

9. COPFS Business Plan 2018/19.

10. In some offices this work is undertaken by a complex case team which also deals with economic crime cases such as fraud.

11. Sections 78 to 83 amended the 1995 Act.

12. Reforms made to High Court procedure following a review conducted by Lord Bonomy.

13. In the High Court it is called a Preliminary Hearing.

14. The content and style of the written record is set out in Form 9.3A Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996) as amended

15. Time limits pre and post reforms can be extended by the court – Section 65 of the 1995 Act.

16. Practice Notes are documents issued by the Lord Justice General in respect of the "Criminal Courts". They inform practitioners of a practice the court is minded to take or of a practice the court expects them to take.

17. Section 70A of the 1995 Act

18. Process whereby trials fall out of the system – compares the number of trials called to indictments registered.

19. Source – COPFS Management Information Unit.

20. Based on the Scottish Government classification and excludes charges not separately actioned, or taken forward as summary or direct measures.

21. Source: COPFS Management Information Unit: Jan-Dec 2018.

22. One person died prior to the first diet.

23. As at 15 April 2019 – adds to more than 100 due to rounding up.

24. Sections 71C(2) and (3) of the 1995 Act and 9.3A of Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules) 1996 as amended.

25. We issued an online survey to 42 defence firms (48 solicitors) to obtain their views on whether the reforms had changed and/or improved Sheriff and Jury business. See Annex A for the results/comments.

26. Section 256(2) of the 1995 Act.

27. Section 258 of the 1995 Act.

28. Paragraph 5.21, Page 52 The Independent Review of Sheriff and Jury procedure by Sheriff Principal Bowen, June 2010.

29. Section 71 (1A)-(3) of the 1995 Act outlines the additional tasks the court can undertake at a first diet.

30. Section 71 (1)(b) of the 1995 Act.

31. Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording System replaces "live" identification parades. It involves the suspect's photographic image being recorded then included among a number of other stand-in images and then being shown to witnesses on a television type screen.

32. Excludes four warrant cases and 18 Section 76 pleas

33. Excludes four warrant cases.

34. Source: COPFS statistics.

35. Section 90A of the 1995 Act.

36. This analysis leaves out of account the four warrant cases and the 18 cases that resolved by Section 76 plea where this would not be relevant/necessary.

37. This analysis leaves out of account the four warrant cases which have been separately analysed and the 18 cases which resolved by Section 76 pleas.

38. Excludes the four cases with outstanding warrants.

39. Working together for Victims and Witnesses – Joint Protocol between COPFS, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS), Police Scotland and Victim Support Scotland (VSS).

40. Joint Protocol between Police Scotland and COPFS: In Partnership Challenging Domestic Abuse.

41. See Annex B.

42. There was no record of any contact.

43. Advocacy, Support, Safety, Information and Services Together.

44. Section 271(a) – (c) of the 1995 Act.

45. The court is empowered to appoint a commissioner to take the evidence of a vulnerable witness in advance of the trial.

46. The number of cases does not add up to 27 due to some cases falling under more than one category of vulnerability.

47. Section 271l of the 1995 Act: Involves giving evidence before a person appointed by the court (a commissioner). All of the evidence can be taken by this special measure. The recorded evidence is then played at the trial.

48. Practice Note No.1 of 2017

49. Issued March 2018.

50. Excludes four warrant cases and 18 cases where there was a Section 76 plea as consideration of Evidence on Commission would not arise.

51. 16 solicitors.

52. 11 solicitors.

53. 3 solicitors.

54. 2 solicitors.

55. It appears from responses that these issues reflect one particular Area.

56. As part of our case review we examined whether disclosure caused delays at first diets. We did not find this to be the case, however, there were occasions where reports, etc. were sent to the defence just days prior to the first diet as they had only just been received by the Crown e.g. expert reports.



Back to top