Coronavirus (COVID-19)—High Court trials resume in Scotland

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—High Court trials resume in Scotland

The Judiciary of Scotland has announced that High Court trails will restart on 20 July 2020 in Edinburgh and 21 July 2020 in Glasgow amid coronavirus (COVID-19). The Restarting Solemn Trials Working Group has introduced new formats designed to ensure compliance with Scotland’s public health guidelines. Latest measures include selecting jurors remotely in advance of court dates to limit those in attendance on the day of the trial. This announcement is coupled with extensive guidance information detailed below.

The measures in place to ensure compliance with public health guidance includes:

• limiting the number of rooms open in court

○ the High Court in Glasgow is only opening the trial courtroom, with the jury in the gallery seating area, a separate room for jury deliberations, and a media viewing room 

○ in Edinburgh, only the trial court room, with seating for media in the gallery, and the jury will view the trial remotely from a separate courtroom will be open

• for each case, 15 jurors, plus five or more substitutes, will be balloted remotely in advance of the trial date from a much larger pool of people who have responded to citations sent out in June 2020

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has published an information pamphlet, ‘Jury Trials, Your Safety is our Priority’ and an information sheet for jurors detailing the measures in place. There is also a guide for court and tribunal users which has been produced as a result of extensive risk assessments which have been conducted.

Sources:

• High court trials to restart

• High Court trials to resume in new format

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