Scottish Sentencing Council: Statutory Offences of Causing Death By Driving Guideline

On 24 August 2023, the Scottish Sentencing Council finalised its first offence guideline on causing death by driving. It was approved by the High Court on 31 October 2023 and applies to all offenders who are convicted of a statutory offence of causing death by driving and are sentenced on or after 16 January 2024. 

Journey Times in Scotland's Criminal Justice System Report

On 20 April 2023 the Scottish Government published a report entitled, Journey Times in Scotland’s Criminal Justice System’. It found that the time from offence to sentencing had increased during the Covid pandemic: in the first 9 months of 2022-23, 'median journey times' were about 2 years and 10 months in the High Court (a rise of 71% pre Covid), 1 year and 5 months in Sheriff Solemn Court (55% rise), 11 months in Sheriff Summary Court (141% rise) and 10 months in the Justice of the Peace Court (82% rise). The starkest difference was the rise in waiting times for victims of sexual assault whose case goes to the High Court, with the median time in these cases being around 4 years.

Court Backlog Modelling

On 22 September 2022 the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) published updated modelling on the pandemic related court backlog. It suggested that the summary                      criminal court backlog will be cleared by March 2024; the High Court backlog by March 2025 and Sheriff Court solemn trials by March 2026.

Scottish Sentencing Council Reports

On 12 May 2022 the Scottish Sentencing Council published a report on the sentencing of offenders with mental health issues; this followed the publication of a report on the challenges of comparing sentences across jurisdictions and a report on sentencing domestic abuse offences.

Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 Implemented

On 17/12/21 Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 was implemented, whereby the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland rose from 8 to 12. (This was despite calls from the UN and Council of Europe during its passage through the Scottish Parliament that it should be raised to a minimum of 14.)





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