Court trials backlog peaks at nearly 50,000

The court backlog of trials in Scotland has grown to a new peak of nearly 50,000 cases.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Jamie Greene said “victims must feel abandoned without much sign of an end in sight.”

New statistics published today show that the number of scheduled trials has increased by more than 1,500 cases to 42,451 overall.

Including ‘forecasted scheduled trials’, which are trials that the Scottish Court Tribunal Service (SCTS) say will happen, SCTS estimates that there are now 48,993 cases awaiting a judgement.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Jamie Greene MSP, said: “Court backlogs were already too long before the pandemic and Covid has intensified the problem.

“There is now around 50,000 cases waiting on a judgement across Scotland, an astounding figure that should be a wake-up call to the SNP Government.

“Delays prevent people getting closure and force them through a prolonged and protracted wait to get justice. Victims must feel abandoned without much sign of an end in sight.

“The Scottish Conservatives have long called for the rights of victims to be first and foremost in our justice system. The SNP Government must throw whatever resources are needed at this backlog to get through these trials fairly, quickly and proportionately.”




The number of forecasted scheduled trials is at its highest ever level since monthly data started being released. The court backlog has yet to stop growing, as the number of forecasted trials stood at 48,993 as of June 2021. This is the largest number yet from the monthly dataset. (SCTS, Monthly Management Information, 20 July 2021, link).


The number of scheduled trials grew by more than 1,500 across Scotland last month. As of May 2021, the number of scheduled trials nationally stood at 40,882. In June 2021, this number increased to 42,451. (SCTS, Monthly Management Information, 20 July 2021, link).

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