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 are now 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.

From 17 March, no new criminal jury trials will be commenced or new juries empanelled until further notice.

At this point, there no new trials will be underway for witnesses to attend. Please do not attend unless advised by the Procurator Fiscal Office.

Where jury trials have already commenced these will run to conclusion of the trial, if practical to do so. Any jurors cited for trials after 17 March will find information on jury telephone lines advising them not to attend.

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.

Courts have already ceased all jury trials, adjourned all but essential summary criminal trials, adjourned all civil hearings involving witnesses and 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.

With everything still uncertain regarding dates, the Procurator fiscal Office will do their best to adjourn cases until support is available but unfortunately cases that involve people in custody may have to continue without a supporter.

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