Monthly Information on Criminal Case Throughput for April 2021

May 18, 2021

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service has published today the eighth monthly workbook to show the throughput of criminal cases in our courts.

This shows the volumes of cases being progressed each month in the High Court,  Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Courts from April 2020, compared against the monthly averages for 2019/20 (pre-COVID).

This needs to be read in the context of there being fewer court days available during April than the normal monthly average due to the Easter holiday period.

The figures show that during April 2021:

  • The overall level of new cases registered is 85% of the average monthly pre-COVID level.
  • Petitions, which provide a useful indicator of future solemn business, are 24% higher than the average monthly pre-COVID level.
  • 34 High Court evidence led trials commenced, which is 19% lower than the pre-COVID average.
  • 53 High Court cases were concluded, which is 21% lower than the pre-COVID average.
  • 84 sheriff solemn evidence led trials commenced, which is 11% lower than the pre-COVID average.
  • 463 sheriff solemn cases were concluded, which is 8% higher than the pre-COVID average.
  • Evidence led summary trials in the Sheriff Courts are 61% of the pre-COVID average, reflecting the easing of court restrictions in mid-April.

David Fraser, SCTS Executive Director Court Operations said:

“Our court buildings continue to operate in accordance with guidance from Public Health Scotland to safeguard our staff, judiciary and court users.

“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% 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.”

 The workbook is available at:

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