Sheriff court trials won’t take place during COP26 summit

The 'high level of police officer deployment' required means officers will be unable to attend trials as witnesses.

Sheriff court trials won’t take place during COP26 summit PA Media
The High Court will continue to sit as planned.

No sheriff court trials will take place at all for a period in November because of the impact of the COP26 global climate change summit being held in Glasgow that month.

With some 10,000 police officers from all across the UK expected to be deployed each day during the gathering, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) said the “high level of police officer deployment” required meant that officers will be unable to attend as witnesses.

There will be a “significant impact on criminal business”, the organisation said, with no sheriff and jury trials being held in any of Scotland’s sheriff courts for a two-week period from November 1.

In addition to this, trials for less serious matters, which take place before a sheriff or a justice of the peace, will not be held at all from October 25 to November 12.

The High Court, which hears the most serious cases, will continue to sit as planned, the SCTS confirmed.

But with Glasgow High Court being sited just a few miles along the River Clyde from the COP26 venue at the Scottish Events Campus, the “potential for disruption” means trials that are due to be heard at this court between November 1 and 12 will be moved to other courts outside the city.

Procedural hearings in the criminal courts will take place as normal during the period of the conference.

COP 26 is taking place between Sunday, October 31 and Friday, November 12, with thousands of delegates and a significant number of heads of state expected to attend.

With demonstrations expected to take place during the event, the SCTS said there may also be a “requirement to run weekend custody courts in some locations”.

The SCTS is working with Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to draw up what are described as “robust contingency measures”.

COP26 was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic saw it delayed by a year.