Summary procedure in Scottish criminal proceedings
Produced in partnership with Kevin Henry of Optimum Advocates and Stephen O’Rourke QC of Terra Firma Chambers
Summary procedure in Scottish criminal proceedings

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Kevin Henry of Optimum Advocates and Stephen O’Rourke QC of Terra Firma Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Summary procedure in Scottish criminal proceedings
  • The complaint
  • Orders and warrants
  • Service of the complaint
  • Bail
  • Time limits for raising proceedings
  • The pleading diet
  • Preliminary pleas and preliminary issues
  • Disclosure
  • Crown Office Health and Safety Division cases
  • More...

Coronavirus (COVID-19): This Practice Note contains guidance impacted by the Scottish government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Scottish criminal procedure, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Scotland tracker and News Analysis: Scottish Criminal Procedure and the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. We are reviewing our content on the basis of information available and will keep it under regular review. Meanwhile, for updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications for UK lawyers, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the criminal justice system—overview and Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.

This Practice Note explains summary procedure in Scottish Criminal proceedings and should be read in conjunction with the Scottish summary criminal procedure—flowchart. For an explanation of the criminal investigation and prosecution process in Scotland, see Practice Note: An introduction to Scottish criminal procedure.

Less serious offences in Scotland are prosecuted on a summary complaint. Summary procedure is regulated by Part IX of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (CP(S)A 1995) (sections 133–194).

For information on solemn procedure in Scotland, see Practice Notes: Solemn procedure in Scottish criminal proceedings and Trials under the Scottish solemn procedure as well as Scottish solemn criminal procedure—flowchart..

The complaint

All proceedings for offences under summary procedure shall be instituted by complaint signed by the prosecutor. Examples of charges on complaint are provided in CP(S)A 1995, Schedule 5.

The complaint must be in the

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