our promise to you sheriff court & justice of the peace court users’ charter june 2019 introduction


Our promise
to you
Sheriff Court & Justice of the Peace Court
Users’ Charter
June 2019
Introduction
Our Sheriff Court & Justice of the Peace Court Users’ Charter sets out
our standards of service in sheriff courts and justice of the peace
courts and our commitments to you.
We recognise that attending court is an unfamiliar experience for many
people. We want to provide information that helps you to access our
services and understand court proceedings. You should feel confident
that we will listen to you, provide you with accurate and relevant
information and treat you with courtesy and consideration at all
times.
We provide information about court procedures and coming to court
(including jury citations and guidance). We cannot give legal advice
or comment on judicial decisions. If we are unable to provide you with
advice, information or a particular service we will explain why.
More information about the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service can
be found on our website www.scotcourts.gov.uk.
About the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is an independent body
corporate established by the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008.
Its purpose is Supporting Justice.
Its function is to provide administrative support and the people,
buildings and services needed to support Scottish courts and
tribunals, the judiciary, and the Office of the Public Guardian and
Accountant of Court.1
In delivering our services we take account of the needs of the
judiciary, people involved in the proceedings of the courts, and the
wider public. We aim to promote public confidence in Scotland’s
justice system and the efficient administration of justice.
The way we deliver our services is led by our values, which we observe
and seek to promote in others:
*
Respect,
*
Service, and
*
Excellence.
We aim to treat everyone fairly irrespective of age, disability,
gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and
maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
Further information is available in our “Equality Statement and
Outcomes” available on our website.
When you attend at court, or at one of our offices, we ask that you
please treat our staff with courtesy
Visiting a Sheriff Court or Justice of the Peace Court
When you visit a sheriff court or justice of the peace court, a member
of staff will be available to assist you. If you have arranged to meet
a member of our staff you can expect to be met on time and no later
than 10 minutes after the scheduled appointment time.
Your privacy is important to us and we take our responsibility to look
after your personal information very seriously. We will ensure that
you are treated in a manner that respects the confidentiality of your
enquiry or your proceedings in court.
You can expect to find the following facilities and services in all of
our court buildings:
*
Reception areas and information points that are clearly marked
*
Clear signs in place to help you find your way around our
buildings
*
Information on court business that is easily accessible or
prominently displayed
*
Clean and comfortable accommodation
and there may be reading material available in some witness rooms.
If you are due to attend at court and have a hearing or sight
impairment, or have other accessibility or support requirements,
please contact the court as soon as possible to discuss the
arrangements we can make for you. Most courthouses facilitate access
for those with a mobility impairment.
Information documents are available, on request, in a wide range of
formats and in other languages.
Please let us know if you have any needs that we are not currently
meeting
Attending Court as a Witness
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service does not cite witnesses to
attend at court, this being the responsibility of the main parties to
the particular court case.
However we understand that coming to court to give evidence can cause
anxiety. If you are required to attend, we want to make the experience
as straightforward and as comfortable as possible by providing
suitable facilities, and timely information about the progress of your
case when we can. To this end:
*
We will provide separate waiting rooms for prosecution and defence
witnesses and access to refreshments,
*
We will update you on the progress of the court case at least once
per hour and advise you when you can leave the court,
*
If you are entitled to give your evidence to court by live TV
link, we will meet you on the day and explain the process for
giving your evidence to court,
*
We will respond to requests received on behalf of witnesses, for
court familiarisation visits, within three working days of
receipt, and
*
If you want to know what support is available to you when you
arrive at court, we will direct you to the Witness Service or
other support services which are present in the court building.
Standards to the above effect are set out in a cross justice agency
publication “Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses” which may
be found on our website.
Contact Us
Full contact details including telephone numbers, addresses, opening
hours and directions for all courts are on our website
www.scotcourts.gov.uk.

You can also write, send an e-mail or phone us using the following
address or number:
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh
EH11 3XD
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0131 444 3352
Accessible contact
If you want to contact us using text relay please follow the guidance
at this link – the Next Generation Text Service.
If you require the support of an interpreter when you contact a court
by phone, or attend in person, a telephone interpretation service is
available. To access this service, ask for telephone interpreting and
state the language required. This service is NOT available during
actual court proceedings.
If you use British Sign Language (BSL) and wish to phone us using a
sign language interpreter, you can use the online video relay
interpreting service. For more information see the contactSCOTLAND
website www.contactscotland-bsl.org.
Telephone Enquiries
We aim to answer all telephone calls (or recorded messages) received
during normal office hours, which vary depending on court location and
size.
Individual court opening hours are available on our website and
displayed within individual court buildings.

If we cannot deal with your enquiry immediately we will call you back
at a mutually agreed time.
If you are attending court as a juror, or potential juror, that court
will operate a messaging service to provide you with relevant
information.
Written Enquiries

You can write to us by e-mail or letter and we will respond within ten
working days of receiving your enquiry.
We will identify the name and the position of the person who is
writing to you. Our response will be in plain English and we will
provide a clear explanation of any technical or legal jargon.
Please let us know how we can assist you
Accessing Information
We want to be as open as possible in providing information about court
proceedings and the operations of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals
Service.

However we must ensure that releasing information will not prejudice
legal proceedings or breach our obligations arising from data
protection law. The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 gives a
general right of access to all types of recorded information held by
public authorities, subject to certain exemptions. Information
contained in court records is exempt information in terms of Section
37 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 for a period of
15 years. Court records are documents, reports and minutes, etc., that
are used, obtained or produced in court for the purpose of court
proceedings. If you want to make a request under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 you should write to our Freedom of
Information Officer at [email protected].
If you wish to know more about our plans for the future, or how we
have performed, please refer to our website. There you can find our
guide to information available through the SCTS Publication Scheme
which includes our Corporate Plan, Annual Report & Accounts and a
range of other information and publications about the courts and the
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.
Your Feedback
We welcome your comments and suggestions which help us improve the
service we provide. We regularly carry out court user satisfaction
surveys to make sure that we are meeting your needs.

You may find suggestion boxes and comment cards in the court building.
If you prefer, you can give feedback verbally to local staff or court
management or you can write to the court by post or e-mail at the
address shown on our website.
We want to put things right if they do go wrong and we will always
treat complaints seriously and impartially. We would always prefer to
try and resolve complaints locally and as quickly as possible. If you
do have a complaint we would ask that you seek to resolve it by
contacting local staff or court management at the time of the
incident.
However we do appreciate that it is not always possible to resolve
matters either locally or at the time and we do have a formal
complaints procedure which follows the model procedure of the Scottish
Public Services Ombudsman and which you can access at our public
offices or on our website.
Finding out more
You will find other useful information, guidance and leaflets on the
following websites:
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service: www.scotcourts.gov.uk
Office of the Public Guardian: www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk
Judiciary of Scotland: www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service: www.crownoffice.gov.uk
Scottish Government: www.gov.scot
Further copies of this document can be made available, on request, in
other languages – please e-mail [email protected] or phone
0131 444 3455.
Dokument ten jest dostępny na żądanie w języku polskim. Prosimy o
kontakt e-mailowy [email protected] lub telefoniczny 0131
444 3455.
Paprašius bus pateikta daugiau šio dokumento kopijų kitomis kalbomis –
rašykite el. laišką [email protected] arba skambinkite
0131 444 3455.

Копии данного документа доступны по запросу на других языках –
пожалуйста, отправьте сообщение на адрес электронной почты [email protected]
или позвоните по номеру 0131 444 3455

If you would like this document in audio or large print format, please
e-mail [email protected] or phone 0131 444 3455.
1 The High Court and Court of Session (collectively known as the
Supreme Courts), the Scottish Tribunals and the Office of the Public
Guardian and Accountant of Court have their own User or Customer
Charters.

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