Coronavirus – court updates

Courts across Scotland are taking stringent measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

We are working closely with our partners at Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to keep you updated with what’s happening at Sheriff and High Courts during Coronavirus.

Below you will find some answers to frequently asked questions.

If you have any further questions, please contact our dedicated number for witnesses: 07872 620888. It’s available 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Yes, court buildings are still open but access and services are restricted. Anyone who is not required to take part in proceedings should not attend court or tribunals buildings.

Public counters in courts continue to be closed with drop boxes available in reception areas for documents. If you need to submit documentation, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service has asked that, where possible, documents should be emailed to your sheriff court’s general email address.

High Court trials restarted on 20 July in Edinburgh and 21 July in Glasgow in new formats designed to ensure a safe and secure process for all involved, in compliance with public health guidelines on physical distancing and hygiene.

Please do not appear at court unless advised by the Procurator Fiscal’s Office.

If you are due to attend court as a witness in a trial that is already underway you will still be required and should attend court as normal.

If your trial is not already underway do not attend court. COPFS will communicate new dates for witnesses to attend court as soon as it is practically possible to do so.

The courts currently are not holding jury trials, have adjourned all but essential summary criminal (non-jury) trials, and have adjourned all civil hearings involving witnesses. Tribunals will only proceed with essential hearings by audio conference.

We are working with court officials to ensure victims and witnesses can continue to access the support they need while attending court.

If you have any questions or require support, please contact our dedicated number for witnesses: 07872 620888. It’s available 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Victim Support Scotland is working very closely with Victim Information and Advice (VIA) part of the Procurator Fiscal’s Office to ensure support is available for future cases. You can contact our Witness Service directly if you need support for an upcoming trial. Please contact us here, call our helpline (0800 160 1985) or use the webchat in the bottom right of this page. Our services are free, confidential and available 8am-8pm, Mon-Fri.

No. Anyone who is a risk or causing harm to the community can still be taken into police custody and charged.

In another measure to reduce risk, all accused persons with symptoms of COVID-19 appearing from custody will have their case conducted via video link. Court officials are also working hard to extend this to all custodies – and are developing an approach that will allow agents to represent clients by telephone.

Whoever you are and whatever the crime, we’re here to help