Before you come to court – lateral flow testing

Apr 23, 2021

We have updated the Guidance for SCTS court and tribunal users during Coronavirus to reflect the announcement made by the Scottish Government that twice-weekly lateral flow testing is available to everyone in Scotland from 26 April.

Tests are available to order online and to collect at COVID test centres (further information on how to access and use these tests is available on the Scottish Government website).

SCTS Chief Executive Eric McQueen said: “We strongly encourage all staff and service users attending our premises to use these tests in order to help identify asymptomatic COVID cases and alert positive cases to self-isolate to protect others pending obtaining a PCR test. These lateral flow tests are another weapon in our armoury to fight back at COVID and to help keep the potential spread of the infection to a minimum.”

“We will continue to be guided by public health advice and to monitor case levels within our premises, which to date have been extremely low.  The extensive measures we have in place to ensure the safest possible working environment will be maintained to minimise potential transmission, so that the courts, Tribunals and OPG can continue to operate safely.”

The following guidance sets out in more detail court arrangements which will be regularly reviewed in line with any changes to the public health measures.

Witnesses and jurors

Witnesses cited to attend the Sheriff Court for a summary criminal trial should attend as per their citation unless otherwise directed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) or the solicitor acting for the accused.

Jurors and witnesses cited to appear for a High Court or Sheriff Court Solemn trial (this means jurors attending a remote jury centre) should continue to do so. These facilities have been specifically designed to provide a safe environment for jurors during the pandemic – and support the administration of justice in relation to the most serious criminal cases.

Face coverings

In those cases that continue to be heard in person at this time, physical distancing can, and must, be maintained at all times.  Face coverings must be worn at all times whilst moving around SCTS buildings, unless the person has an exemption.  In recognition of the fact that a number of individuals may need to be present in a courtroom, the Lord President has instructed  the requirement for face coverings to be worn while in court rooms, as an additional measure – over and above the need to fully observe the FACTS advice – full face covering guidance in court is available here.

Client consultation

Minimising face-to-face meetings within court buildings reduces the risk of transmission. Where possible, consultations should take place outwith the court estate. However, it is acknowledged there may be occasions where it is not possible to consult or take instructions on a particular matter in advance of the day of a court hearing.

Where client instruction or consultation is required during a court hearing, an adjournment can be sought. Where it is required prior to a hearing, we will do our best during this period to facilitate local arrangements, using currently unoccupied accommodation.

Safety remains our top priority

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by Public Health advice and have ensured that our facilities meet the standards required for non-healthcare settings allowed to operate at this time. Those visiting our buildings in the coming days will notice refreshed signage that has been installed to help remind everyone of the need to observe the arrangements in place. A safe working environment is a combination of the facilities and the way in which everyone uses them. SCTS is relying on everyone to redouble their efforts to help keep everyone safe

Please read the detailed guidance for court and tribunal users during coronavirus.

As we move towards what we all hope will be a more stable position over the spring and summer SCTS would like to thank all court users, judiciary and staff for their continuing compliance at this exceptional time. Together we can support justice – safely.

Remember the FACTS for a safer Scotland






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