SSDG Guidance for Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court Users 1 April 2021


Dear Colleagues


Please find attached email from the Sheriff Principal attaching Guidance for Sheriff Court and JP Court Users from 1st April 2021.


The Easter weekend Custody Court will take place on Saturday 3rd April 2021 at Hamilton Sheriff Court at 11.00am. This will deal with both Hamilton as well as Airdrie and Lanark custody cases.


Please see the Guidance Note issued by the Lord President which takes effect from 1st April 2021 and will affect Solemn Business, Custody Courts, Summary Trials, Cited Courts, Undertakings, Intermediate Diets, Remand/Sentencing Courts and operation of the JP Courts.


In respect of Civil Business please see the contents of the Guidance in respect of civil hearings both evidential and procedural, FAI`s, ASSPIC and Sheriff Appeal Court.


You will note Hamilton SC is piloting Child Welfare Hearings from 25th March 2021 by Webex and if successful will be rolled out across SSDG.


As always please circulate to any colleagues not on my email list.




Paul McDermott

Acting Dean

Airdrie Society of Solicitors


Dictated by the Sheriff Principal and sent on her behalf :


Dear All,


I am on annual leave tomorrow and thus I thought it would be helpful to set out in an email the matters I would have discussed with you at our meeting tomorrow.


Public Holiday Courts

As you will be aware, there will be two custody courts in Hamilton (dealing also with Airdrie and Lanark custodies) and one in Dumfries (dealing also with Stranraer and Ayr) on Saturday 3 April 2021.  The custody court will commence at 11.00am.


Guidance Issued by the Lord President

I attach a copy of the latest Guidance issued by the Lord President relating to court business from 1 March 2021.  The important points to note are as follows:

  1. Between 1 and 16 April 2021, we will be running 3 summary trials per summary trials court;
  2. With effect from 19 April 2021, we will be running a loading of 5 summary trials in each summary trials court;
  3. Cited courts will commence on 19 April 2021;
  4. Justice of the Peace courts will commence on 7 June 2021, with trials commencing in July.

I am now drafting refixing Orders and these will be intimated to you.  Like me, you and your members are no doubt hopeful that this now signals a return to a sustained increase in the level of criminal business conducted in the sheriff courts.


Jury Trials

In a number of sittings across the last few weeks valuable time has been lost because the accused has not been ordered from custody.  Where the accused is in custody on the solemn matter for which he/she is facing trial, the Crown will be aware of that.  If however the accused has been remanded in custody on another matter, the Crown is not always aware that that is the case and relies upon information from defence agents to ensure that the accused is ordered from custody.  I should be grateful if you would remind your members to let the Crown know if the accused requires to be ordered from custody.


PIDM Conference

As I am sure you are aware, I am holding a conference on the operation of PIDMs on 29 March 2021 at the remote jury centre in East Kilbride.  I understand that Mark O’Hanlon has kindly agreed to represent SSDG at that conference.  I am very hopeful that we will have a constructive and positive discussion about the current challenges and how we can improve the process and outcomes for all involved.


Dumfries Jury Trials

The clerk will be in touch with Kirsteen and the bar in Dumfries to arrange familiarisation visits both to the remote jury centre and also to allow the bar to view and understand the layout of the cameras and technology within the courtroom in Dumfries.

The staff are undergoing training in the use of the technology and will be shadowing the staff in other courts to allow them to familiarise themselves prior to the first sitting in Dumfries.


Child Welfare Hearings

The first webex based child welfare hearing court will take place in Hamilton on 25 March 2021.  As I have previously explained, we will evaluate this exercise in Hamilton and if it proves successful, we will roll out webex based child welfare hearings wherever possible across SSDG.


As ever, if you have any queries or wish to discuss matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch.  Unless I hear to the contrary from you, we will treat the meeting tomorrow as cancelled.


With best wishes.


Sheriff Principal Aisha Y Anwar

Sheriffdom of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway