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Customer Charter

Supreme Courts Crest
Updated May 2017

The Supreme Courts are part of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and are the superior courts in Scotland. They consist of the Court of Session, the High Court of Justiciary and the Sheriff Appeal Court. The Court of Session is the supreme civil court in Scotland. The High Court of Justiciary deals with criminal appeals and serious criminal cases. The Sheriff Appeal Court hears appeals, both civil and criminal, from decisions made in the sheriff court.

We are committed to providing a high standard of service and put customers at the heart of what we do.

We recognise that to serve you well we must understand your needs. We will always take time to listen to you through formal and informal feedback.

Our Court User’s Charter sets out our standards of service and our commitments to you.

We recognise that attending court is an unfamiliar experience for many people. We want to provide information that helps you to access our services and understand court proceedings. You should feel confident that we will listen to you, provide you with accurate and relevant information and treat you with courtesy and consideration at all times.

We can give you information about procedures and general matters but cannot give legal advice. We cannot comment on judicial decisions or, if you have been cited to attend court, the reasons for that citation. We must remain impartial at all times and not show favour to any particular customer or group of customers.


EQUALITY & DIVERSITY

We aim to treat everyone fairly irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Further information is available in our “Equality Statement and Outcomes”, which can be accessed via our website or paper copies can be requested, contact details are available in the “Contact Us” section of this leaflet.


COMING TO THE SUPREME COURTS

When you come to court, a member of staff will assist you promptly. If you have arranged to meet a member of our staff you can expect to be met on time and no later than 10 minutes after the scheduled appointment time.
Your privacy is important to us and we take our responsibility to look after your personal information very seriously. We will ensure that you are treated in a manner that respects the confidentiality of your enquiry or your proceedings in court.

You can expect to find the following facilities and services in all of our court buildings –

• Reception areas and information points that are clearly marked.
• Clear signs in place to help you find your way around our buildings.
• Information on court business that is easily accessible or prominently displayed.
• Clean and comfortable accommodation.
• Reading material in witness rooms.
• Refreshment facilities.
• Should you have any other personal requirements, not mentioned above; we will consider all reasonable requests and take all practical steps to meet them.


PUBLIC OFFICES ARE OPEN -

     Monday: 10.30am – 5.00pm
     Tuesday – Thursday: 9.00am – 5.00pm
     Friday: 9.00am – 4.45pm



ATTENDING COURT AS A WITNESS

The citation of witnesses to court and the progress of cases in court is not the responsibility of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.

However we understand that coming to court to give evidence can cause anxiety. We want to make the experience as straightforward and as comfortable as possible by providing suitable facilities. If you have any queries regarding your attendance please contact those who have cited you.


OUR STANDARDS

We will:
• Pay jurors’ expenses within 2 working days of accepting a correctly completed claim form.
• To assist suppliers we will settle all invoices in full within 10 days of receipt.
• Publicise our targets and waiting periods.
• Operate a free Jurors' telephone information service (from landlines). This is a telephone message service which provides information to potential jurors. It gives information that aims to avoid any unnecessary attendance at court.


WRITTEN ENQUIRIES

• We will write, e-mail or telephone you within two working days of receiving your enquiry.
• We will provide full details to allow you to contact us again.
• We will acknowledge enquiries made to supreme.courts@scotcourts.gov.uk within one working day.
• We will explain things in plain English and avoid using technical terms and legal jargon wherever possible.


TELEPHONE ENQUIRIES

• You can contact us by telephone during normal office opening hours, these are:

        Monday 10.30am – 5.00pm
        Tuesday to Thursday 9.00am – 5.00pm
        Friday 9.00am – 4.45pm

• We will state our name and department when we answer your call.
• If we cannot answer your enquiry immediately we will call back at a mutually agreed time.
• If you leave a message, we will return your call the same day wherever possible.
• We will let you know if there is any delay in dealing with your enquiry.


ADDITIONAL SERVICES

• If you have hearing difficulties we can speak to you through the Text Relay service.
• Some of our documents and leaflets are available in other languages, audio, large print or Braille. These are available on request.
• If English is not your first language we can speak to you through Language Line, an interpreting service.

Please let us know if you need any additional help, our contact details are shown at the end of the leaflet.


CUSTOMER CARE

As part of our commitment to customer service and care we are checked regularly as part of our Customer Service Excellence accreditation. We also;
• Conduct regular customer surveys to help us to find out the needs of our customers and improve our services.
• Continually review and improve office procedures and standards.
• Welcome suggestions that could lead to improvement in our service.
• Participate in appropriate local community initiatives.
• Conduct spot checks of our work.
• Hold user group meetings to exchange information with customers.



ATTENDING THE PUBLIC OFFICES

If you wish to speak to a member of staff regarding a case, you are more than welcome to attend the public offices. In order for us to give you the best customer service we can, we ask that you treat our staff and other court users with courtesy and respect. It is also helpful if you provide us with any information which is relevant to your enquiry such as documents or reference numbers.



ACCESS TO INFORMATION

We want to be as open as possible in providing information about court proceedings and the operations of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. If you request information from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service we will provide clear and correct information. In some cases we may not be able to release information, if this is the case we will explain the reasons why.

However we must ensure that releasing information will not prejudice legal proceedings or breach our obligations arising from the Data Protection Act 1998. Information contained in court records is exempt information in terms of Section 37 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Court records are documents, reports and minutes etc. that are used, obtained or produced in court for the purpose of court proceedings.

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. If you want to make a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 you should write to our Freedom of Information Officer at the address at the end of the leaflet.

If you wish to know more about our plans for the future or how we have performed please refer to our website. There you can find our Corporate Plan, Annual Report and Accounts as well as a range of other information and publications about the courts and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.


COMPLAINTS

We have in place a formal customer complaints procedure if our service falls short of what you consider to be acceptable.

Copies of our complaints procedure are available –

On our website www.scotcourts.gov.uk  
By e-mail: supreme.courts@scotcourts.gov.uk  
By telephone: 0131 225 2595
By letter or in person:
    Supreme Courts
    Parliament House
    Parliament Square
    Edinburgh EH1 1RQ


CONTACT US AND FEEDBACK

We welcome your comments, suggestions and views on any aspect of our service because we believe that this will help us to provide an improved service.

Please let us know if you are particularly pleased or disappointed with any aspect of our service. You can contact us –

By e-mail: supreme.courts@scotcourts.gov.uk  
By telephone: 0131 225 2595
By letter or in person:
    Supreme Courts
    Parliament House
    Parliament Square
    Edinburgh
    EH1 1RQ



USEFUL WEBSITES
You will find other useful information, guidance, and leaflets on the following websites:

www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk
www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk
www.scotland.gov.uk
www.victimsofcrimeinscotland.org.uk
www.copfs.gov.uk
www.scotland.police.uk

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