Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice General, has issued a practice note which is hoped to reduce the backlog of summary cases at the Sheriff Court’s. The practice note provides for early meetings between the defence and the prosecution prior to the trial diet to establish if the matter can be resolved by agreement without the need for unnecessarily inconveniencing witnesses and the court.
At present, many cases resolve on the day of trial which are resolved by way of agreed guilty plea and, alternatively, many cases call for trial which are not ready to begin. This means that witnesses are often inconvenienced and a time slot in the court timetable is unnecessarily taken.
Pre-intermediate diet meetings are already taking place in Ayr, Airdrie, Dumfries, Hamilton, Lanark and Stranraer  and has seen approximately 400 cases resolve earlier than they otherwise would have. It is therefore hoped that these new meetings shall have a significant impact at reducing the backlog of summary cases caused by coronavirus.