The court system in Scotland is set to fully reopen following a reduction in Covid-19 transmission levels.
Due to the latest lockdown, criminal courts have focused on the most serious trials since January, with the majority of summary trials in sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts adjourned.
Lord Carloway, the Lord President, Scotland’s most senior judge, has announced that due to the vaccine rollout and the reduction of coronavirus cases, the courts can cautiously begin to ease the current restrictions.
From April 19, sheriff court cases will restart, and summary trial courts will return to their pre-January loads of three trials scheduled, with two backup cases.
From June 7, Justice of the Peace courts will restart all business.
All criminal jury trials in the High Court and sheriff court will continue as planned. All new custody cases and summary custody trials in the sheriff courts and Justice of the Peace courts will continue to be heard.
All High Court criminal and civil appeals and tribunals will continue to operate virtually and remotely, as they have been doing throughout the pandemic.
Court rooms will continue to have social distancing and face covering measures in place.
Witnesses cited to attend the sheriff court for a summary criminal trial before April 19 should not attend unless they are contacted directly by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) or the solicitor acting for the accused.
After April 19, witnesses should attend as per their citations.
Remote jury centres will continue to be in operation, as they have been since last year.