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Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for those due to attend court

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is now having a significant impact on the Scottish criminal justice system.  COPFS is working closely with justice partners and with Scottish Government on measures which will support the fair and effective administration of justice whilst respecting the public health guidance which has been issued.  

Following the government advice issued on 23 March 2020, to limit social contact, we have issued the following guidelines.

Working with our justice partners, it has been agreed that only essential business will go through courts during this emergency period. The following arrangements will apply to all Summary, Sheriff and Jury and High Court business from Tuesday 24 March 2020 until further notice.

  • If you have been asked to give evidence in a trial, and that trial has already started in court, then you must come to court on the dates you have been asked to attend. If you are self-isolating, showing any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or are in any of the higher risk categories and you are due to attend court to give evidence please call the COPFS Enquiry Point on the contact details below. 

  • If you have been asked to give evidence in a trial, but that trial has not started yet, DO NOT ATTEND COURT UNLESS YOU ARE CONTACTED DIRECTLY BY COPFS AND TOLD YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND. In cases where you are not required COPFS will contact you, giving you future dates for your attendance at court.

  • Cases due to call in appeal courts are expected to continue as normal.

  • A Protocol on physical distancing and hygiene has been agreed with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) to help anyone who must attend court stay safe. This contains further information on essential business and attending at court. You can read more about this on the SCTS website.

We appreciate that all this uncertainty will have an impact on some vulnerable victims and witnesses, who may feel more at risk, isolated or have reduced access to sources of support. We want to reassure you that maintaining public safety is a key priority and we will continue to work closely with the police and other key partner organisations supporting victims and witnesses to ensure public safety is maintained. 

Enquiries regarding witness availability for Sheriff and Jury cases for the Witness Engagement Team should be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Witness Engagement telephone number is not currently in use. If you have already received your citation to appear as a witness, then use the Enquiry Point email or phone number listed in the 'Contact details' section. 

  • If your trial has already started, you are still required to attend court every day.

  • If your trial has not started, please contact your solicitor who will be able to provide you with advice and guidance. 

  • If you do not have a solicitor, please contact the Sheriff Clerk’s office at the court you are due to attend.  You will also find information on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service website.

  • If you have dates for a First Diet or a Preliminary Hearing, DO NOT ATTEND COURT – the Sheriff Clerks will contact your solicitor about these events.  If you do not have a solicitor, contact the Sheriff Clerks about your case.

  • If you have been served with a Summary Complaint from the Procurator Fiscal, you should contact your solicitor by phone or respond to us in writing, using the reply form that is attached in the letter you have received.

  • If you have been released by the police on an Undertaking to attend court, you should still attend court on the date specified on the undertaking unless the Procurator Fiscal has informed you to attend on a later date.

In all instances, please ensure that you inform your Solicitor if you are self-isolating, showing any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or are in any of the higher risk categories and you are due to attend court.  Your solicitor will be able to keep you informed and communicate what is required from you during the COVID-19 emergency period.

If you don’t have a solicitor acting for you and are self-isolating, showing any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or are in any of the higher risk categories and you are due to attend court, please contact the COPFS Enquiry Point.  Contact details are provided below. 

A Protocol on physical distancing and hygiene has been agreed with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) to help anyone who must attend court stay safe. This contains further information on essential business and attending at court. You can read more about this on the SCTS website.

If you are currently serving as a juror (in either criminal or civil cases) in any of the courts in Scotland at this time, you should continue to attend court and take any directions given from the presiding judge or sheriff about attendance.

If you have been cited to attend for jury selection do not attend.

Jurors should refer to the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service website for the latest advice.   

Please do not attend court in person to pay your fine.

Please visit Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service website for details of how to pay online.   

There are revised and rigorous guidelines for the police to apply in the liberation of arrested people pending further investigation or action. These can be found on the Lord Advocate's Guidelines page under the section 'Lord Advocate's Guidelines on Liberation by the Police COVID-19 or Coronavirus'. They are also being communicated directly with Police Scotland. 

The postponement of lodging productions has been agreed nationally with Police Scotland due to a reduction in resources available within offices. 

We have communicated information directly with solicitors. A copy of this communication is available to view and download: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and COPFS - Information for Solicitors.

If you are a solicitor who would like to discuss plea resolution, please use the contact details below:

Grampian, Highlands and Islands
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Tayside, Central and Fife
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North Strathclyde
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South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway
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Lothian and Borders
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Glasgow
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  • Glasgow Plea Hotline: 0141 420 7001 (9.30am-1pm)

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Telephone: 0300 020 3000, rates from mobile telephones may vary by provider. 

Telephone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 3:30pm. Emails will be responded to outside these times.

Calls can be made through RNID Typetalk. Please prefix our telephone number with 18001.

Deaf sign language users should text on 07825 280346, specifying if you would prefer your reply by sms, text or email.

Enquiries regarding witness availability for Sheriff and Jury cases for the Witness Engagement Team should be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Witness Engagement telephone number is not currently in use. If you have already received your citation to appear as a witness, then use the Enquiry Point email or phone number listed above.