Latest quarterly criminal court figures continue to show strong progress

Dec 01, 2022

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service quarterly statistical bulletin is published today providing quarterly Official Statistics on criminal case activity in Scotland. This bulletin covers the period Quarter 2 2022/23 (July – September).

The bulletin contains figures on activity in all High, Sheriff, Justice of the Peace and criminal appeal courts with national trends as well as detailed figures for local courts in solemn and summary criminal business.

The 18th QCC Bulletin shows the sustained impact of the 16 additional trial courts introduced in September 2021 with a total of 23,636 cases concluded in Q2 2022/23.

The Quarter 2 figures reflects the normal reduced court programme and sitting days over the summer holiday period. Key points include:

  • There were 20,767 first instance criminal cases registered in Scottish courts in Q2 2022/23, which is 8% lower than in Q1 2022/23.  
  • The number of trials scheduled has fallen by 10% to 33,594 when scheduled trials at the end of September 2022 are compared to those still to call as at the end of June 2022.
  • Evidence led trials fell by 4% to 2,127 in Q2 2022/23 compared to Q1 2022/23.
  • In Q2 2022/23 domestic abuse cases accounted for 26% of Sheriff Summary registrations; 27% of Sheriff Summary trials called and 36% of Sheriff Summary trials in which evidence was led.

 Commenting on the bulletin SCTS Executive Director Court Operations, David Fraser, said: “The Quarter 2 figures show the court recovery programme, which introduced an additional 16 trial courts in September 2021, continues to make inroads to the backlog created by the Covid-19 pandemic with the backlog reducing quarter by quarter. Due to prioritising cases, domestic abuse continue to account for over a third of evidence led trials at Summary level.

The impact of the court recovery programme in reducing the trial backlog has continued since the end of Quarter 2, with our monthly workbook published in November confirming that the trial backlog has now reduced by 12,044 since the start of 2022.

“We continue to make progress due to the excellent collaboration across the judiciary, justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector which has helped get court business back on track. This collaboration remains crucial during the recovery programme and the anticipated increase in case registrations.”

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