Latest quarterly criminal court figures continue to show progress

Mar 02, 2023

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 3 2022/23 (October – December).

The 19th QCC Bulletin shows the sustained impact of the 16 additional trial courts introduced in September 2021 with the number of trials scheduled falling by 10% to 30,305 as at the end of December 2022 when compared to the previous quarter end (33,594):  

Other highlights include:

  • There were 20,237 first instance criminal cases registered in Scottish courts in Q3 2022/23, which is 3% lower than in Q2 2022/23.  
  • Evidence led trials rose by 4% to 2,219 in Q3 2022/23 compared to Q2 2022/23.
  • A total of 21,862 cases concluded in Q3 2022/23 – down 8% from Q2 2022/23.
  • In Q3 2022/23 domestic abuse cases accounted for 23% of Sheriff Summary registrations; 27% of Sheriff Summary trials called and 33% of Sheriff Summary trials in which evidence was led.

Commenting on the bulletin SCTS Executive Director Court Operations, David Fraser, said:

“The latest figures show the volume of scheduled trials has reduced by 30% since the peak in winter 2021/22. This is a 61% reduction in the trials backlog caused by Covid-19 pandemic.  

“Through the court recovery programme we are aiming to return to a point where the number of scheduled cases being prepared for trial is around 20,000. Given the initial focus on summary trials we remain confident that the summary backlog will be cleared by March 2024. Plans are now in place to introduce a further 2 additional High Court and 6 additional Sheriff Solemn trial courts from April 2023, with the aim of clearing the High Court trial backlog by March 2025 and sheriff solemn by March 2026.

“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 solemn case registrations.

“For the first time we are introducing protected characteristic statistics into the workbook. This further shows the SCTS’s commitment to not only data openness and transparency but also to enhancing the value and utility of these Official Statistics.” 


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