Scotland’s top prosecutor has said she is troubled by the growing backlog of cases which are awaiting trial due to COVID-19, The Lord Advocate discussed the issue at Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee and stated that ‘radical’ action was required. 
Ms Bain has offered her support for a pilot scheme which would involve trial without juries in rape cases and instead would be determined by judges. Cases of a sexual nature make up 70% of the workload within the High Court. As a result, the backlog is having a significant impact upon justice. 
The Lord Advocate explained to MSPs: ‘The backlog of cases and timescale for recovery trouble me deeply’. Ms Bain stated that her ‘acute concern’ was for victims of gender-based violence which predominantly involves women and girls. At the end of September there were 837 on the backlog and awaiting trial before a High Court Jury. This is a 57% increase in the figures pre-covid. 
The Lord Advocate advises that radical steps were required to address this. Ms Bain stated that she was in support of trials before a judge only in order to tackle the backlog of cases. 
The Scottish government received backlash from the legal profession when there was suggestion of moving to judge-only trials. However, Ms Bain told the committee: ‘I do consider we need to take a radical step’. 
The Lord Advocate also suggested that non-jury trials would result in shorter trials and ultimately aid in tackling the backlog of cases.