Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow

Covid-19 current Court arrangements and safety measures

Letter sent from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to Faculty Deans and Presidents of Bar Associations re safety arrangements in the Court system.



Glasgow and Strathkelvin Sheriff Court: Civil Department -  information and guidance in respect of the current procedures in light of the Guidance Note issued by SCTS in relation to the conduct of civil business during the current lockdown period to 28 February 2021.



and message from Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull - 


Following upon Monday’s announcement and the SCTS guidance in relation to ongoing business, I thought it would be helpful if I wrote to you explaining how we intend approaching the summary trial business that is still proceeding.

As you will know, the SCTS guidance is that in relation to summary business, save for cases that are accelerated, it will only be custody trials and part-heard trials that proceed.

Our intention, assuming we have the judicial and staffing resources to accommodate this, is that only one custody or part-heard trial will be assigned to each summary trial court.  That will give us the best opportunity of concluding all custody or part-heard business. 

In light of our approach, however, it is essential that the court (and all parties) are made aware as quickly as possible of any circumstances which may prevent a trial proceeding.  If a trial cannot proceed it would be a wholly inefficient use of resources to set up a dedicated court to deal with that case.

As it happens, an example of this arose yesterday, the court being told on the day that the defence solicitor conducting a part-heard trial was self-isolating (awaiting a COVID test result).  In that particular case, the defence solicitor had probably undergone a test no later than the day before the trial and, as at close of business the day before the trial, must have known that there was a realistic prospect that he may be unable to attend court.

The same situation would arise if a sheriff or a depute in a part-heard trial, or an essential Crown witness in any trial, found themselves in the same position. 

I would, therefore, urge you to ensure that your staff and members, respectively, let the court know of any circumstances which may prevent a custody or part-heard trial running by no later than 4 pm on the day before the day of the trial.  We will then be able to make suitable programming arrangements. 

If the potential bar to a trial is removed (e.g. a negative test result is returned after 4 pm) it may be that the trial can proceed.  If there are any matters arising from this you would wish to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull

Sheriffdom of Glasgow & Strathkelvin

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