Figures released by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service have shown that almost 500 solemn Sheriff cases were concluded in April 2021 alone, marking an 8% increase from the pre-Covid average. Positive signs that the court system is gradually beginning to recover could also be seen by the fact new solemn cases have risen to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, compared to just 60% at the end of 2020.
Despite this, court business still appears to be slowing in the High Court, with levels of case conclusion 21% lower than pre-covid levels. In response to the figures, SCTS executive director David Fraser said: “Jury trials in the High Court and Sheriff Courts continue to operate at pre-Covid capacity following the successful introduction of remote jury centres. With the resumption of sheriff court summary criminal trials on 19 April, these have already returned to 61 per cent of the pre-Covid average. The next stages of restrictions easing will see a gradual increase in some sheriff courts summary trial loadings from 17 May, where this can be safely accommodated, and the re-starting of Justice of the Peace business from 7 June. 
“The excellent collaboration across the judiciary, justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector has helped get court business back on track and this will remain crucial in planning for the recovery programme commencing in September. We will continue to publish these figures on a monthly basis to illustrate the progress we are making and the challenges still being faced.”