Covid-19 updated information

Dear Court Users,

Now that both the UK and Scottish governments are turning their attention to easing the lockdown restrictions, you will want to know what is happening in terms of re-opening the courts. As of yet, there is little firm information to report, but, given your forbearance to date, for which I am very grateful, it is only right that I should tell you where matters currently stand.

The first thing to be said is that new applications are being dealt with by the Court. These should be submitted both electronically and in hard copy, posted or delivered to George House. The electronic versions will allow Court staff to process applications from their homes. The preferred method of fee payment is by electronic bank transfer although cheques will be accepted if necessary. Please contact the Principal Clerk on 0131 271 4366 or by email to airving@scotcourtstribunals.gov.uk for bank transfer details.

As to the opening of George House and the resumption of hearings throughout the country, this will be done in stages. Although the decision is one for the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service, the opening of court buildings to judiciary and staff is one of the matters included in phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s roadmap for exiting the lockdown. More will be known about that later this week but opening court buildings to members of the public will be a second and later step for which there is no fixed timetable at the moment. However, I would hope that some hearings of short duration (lasting a day or two) might be possible by July. Once things have been successfully trialled in that way it should be possible to fix longer hearings. Hearings furth of Edinburgh will depend on (a) travelling restrictions being relaxed and (b) advance planning taking account of the particular circumstances in the widely differing venues which the Land Court typically uses.

I am aware that the above is all very tentative but that is where the country is generally, in terms of emerging from the lockdown. This information will be updated as and when what is possible becomes clearer but we are all keen to return to something approaching normality, or even a “new normal”, as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, thank you again for your forbearance.

Lord Minginish
26 May 2020