Justice of the Peace Courts reopen on Monday 7 June

Jun 03, 2021

Justice of the Peace Courts across Scotland will reopen for hearings on Monday 7 June 2021.

The plan to restart JP Court criminal business was announced following the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service’s review of operating arrangements in courts after the Scottish Government announcement of the easing of lockdown on 17 May.

Safety remains our top priority. While the need for physical distancing remains, the Guidance for court and tribunal users who need to come to our buildings is unchanged. We will continue to take all the right steps in keeping our buildings safe as restrictions ease.

The Guidance for Sheriff and JP Courts is in place across all courts and Justice of the Peace trials will be allocated ensuring the loadings do not exceed the maximum safe capacity for each court room. We will continue to maximise the use of available space in individual courts, while strengthening controls by directly managing actual footfall rather than the number of cases. 

factsSMSCTS follows very clear guidance from Public Health Scotland on the measures that are required to minimise the potential transmission of the virus and on how the courts can continue to operate safely. All our court buildings and court rooms adhere strictly to that guidance.  The clinical advice remains that, by following the FACTS guidance, the working environment is as safe as possible.

SCTS Executive Director Court Operations David Fraser said: “The safety of staff, judiciary and court users continues to be our top priority as JP courts resume.

“I am pleased to confirm the restarting of JP business and want to reassure all court users that our approach remains rigorous. We have extensive measures in place to ensure the safest possible working environment will be maintained so the courts can continue to operate safely.”


Witnesses cited to attend for a 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.


Face coverings

Face coverings must be worn at all times whilst moving around SCTS buildings, unless the person has an exemption.  Similarly face coverings are to be worn while in court rooms as set out in the guidance – 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 court hearing, we will do our best during this period to facilitate local arrangements, using currently unoccupied accommodation.

SCTS would like to thank all court users, judiciary and staff for their continuing compliance with guidelines. Together we can support justice – safely.

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