Concern expressed over courts system backlog

The huge backlog in court cases, evident in the Western Isles as elsewhere in Scotland, could get worse as a result of last week’s spending review by the Scottish Government.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 10th June 2022, 10:36 am
MSPs heard there was a backlog of cases right throughout Scotland, including in Stornoway.
MSPs heard there was a backlog of cases right throughout Scotland, including in Stornoway.

Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, raised the local issue in a question to the Justice Secretary, Keith Brown, suggesting there was too much centralisation in the prosecution system.

Mr Allan said: “One of my constituents has been waiting for several months for an update on his case, and the local Procurator Fiscal office has been unable to give any indication of when his case will be processed, as it says that is done centrally. Are there any plans to allow for more local processing of Procurator Fiscal cases, which might help to ease some of the waiting times?”.

He was told by Mr Brown that “the processing of cases is a matter for the Lord Advocate as part of her independent role as head of the prosecution system. I therefore recommend that the member contact the Lord Advocate, both on the specific case and on his suggestion about more localised processing”.

Sign up to our daily Stornoway Gazette Today newsletter

The Conservative spokesman, Jamie Green, followed up: “Yesterday’s spending review is devastating for the justice sector, with legal aid, the judiciary and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service all receiving real-terms cuts over the next five years.

He continued: “The Scottish Police Federation described yesterday as ‘a bad day for the public, a good one for criminals’ while a prominent solicitor has said that the spending review is a ‘nail in the coffin for legal aid’.”

Mr Brown said a “budget will come forward in due course”.