Between 19 December 2012 and 15 March 2013, the Scottish Govenment is holding a public consultation to seek views on the implementation of recommendations by Sheriff Principal Bowen to reform sheriff and jury procedure.
Cases that call for trial before a jury are the most serious criminal cases in Scotland. These jury trials are heard in either the High Court or the Sheriff Court. Of these jury trials the vast majority, over 80 per cent, are dealt with in the Sheriff Court under what is commonly referred to as Sheriff and Jury procedure.
In April 2009 the Scottish Government announced an independent review of sheriff and jury procedure in Scotland, to ensure that the system is working as fairly, effectively and efficiently as possible.
The Review was undertaken by Sheriff Principal Bowen who submitted his report to Scottish Ministers on 11 June 2010.
The Scottish Government published its response to the Review's recommendations on 11 February 2011.
CONSULTATION AND NEXT STEPS
Since publication of the Review, the Scottish Government has been undertaking further work, in consultation with criminal justice organisations, with a view to implementing Sheriff Principal Bowen's proposed reforms. This work will be further informed by the public consultation.
The consultation document seeks views on implementation of Sheriff Principal Bowen's key proposals and also includes draft Bill provisions. These provisions, as further informed by this consultation exercise, will be introduced to Parliament in a Criminal Justice Bill scheduled for 2013.
The consultation closes on 15 March 2013.
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