News In Focus
Fewer summary cases meeting time target, figures show
Half of Scotland’s sheriff courts are taking longer to process cases than they were a year earlier, according to new figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.
A parliamentary answer has revealed that across Scotland, the proportion of cases hitting the 26-week target from issuing a caution or charge to reaching a verdict has fallen from 73.2% in November 2015 to 69.8% in November 2016, the latest month for which data were given.
In eight sheriff courts including Glasgow, fewer than 60% of cases concluded on time; and 19 out of 40 courts were performing more poorly than a year previously.
Shadow Justice Secretary Douglas Ross said that "many will feel that [the figures are] a direct result of the SNP's closure programme". Ten sheriff and seven justice of the peace courts were closed between 2013 and 2015, with their business being transferred to neighbouring courts.
The Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service attributes the increased pressure to a larger number of complex cases such as domestic abuse and historic sex offences.
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