Criminals are to be prosecuted in “virtual courts” to help cope with coronavirus.
With jury trials suspended until further notice, non-priority summary trials in Aberdeen and across the country are now being put off until later in the year.
And some custody cases will see the accused appear via a video link from a police station.
In a statement the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) said: “In criminal cases we have introduced the capability for individuals held in police custody to appear in court virtually, via TV links at Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“That capability will be expanded across Scotland in the coming weeks.
“This is essential to allow cases involving individuals to be dealt with without the risks involved to others that would arise from bringing these individuals to court buildings.
“In civil business we are creating the capacity for hearings to be conducted virtually via teleconferencing, if parties agree.”
David Fraser, chief operations officer, added: “By creating links between courts and police holding facilities, together with our ability to pre-record evidence and for evidence to be given at remote locations, we have made positive steps towards the creation of a virtual court.”
Stuart Murray, president of the Aberdeen Bar Association, has spoken about the impact of the delays and disruption on solicitors and their clients.
He said: “These are worrying times for everybody.
“Accused persons have the additional concern of having criminal proceedings hanging over their heads, with an indefinite date for when that’s going to be concluded.
“For people remanded on sheriff and jury or High Court cases, the Crown may require to seek extensions to time limits.
“It may be some summary matters proceed by way of virtual court and there are systems in place.
“The other difficulty is how many witnesses are required to attend. It’s a changing landscape.”
Mr Murray said the postponement of cases until later in the year was causing a headache not just for accused but also solicitors.
He added: “Most trials now are calling on Crown motion to be adjourned until August or later in the year.
“But these dates will very quickly fill up. They’re going to spill over in to September and October.
“While we’re not necessarily objecting to that, it does seem like a very long time away for agents to be dealing with cases and for it to be hanging over clients’ heads.”
The SCTS statement added: “On the matter of cases being postponed… the delay in the hearing of cases – while regrettable – is unavoidable.”