In our recent Scottish Criminal Law Channel Virtual Roundtable Discussion we discussed the topic ‘Have we done well with court business in Scotland during the pandemic?’. We heard from lawyers from other jurisdictions including Australia, where judges-only trials have become popular.

Judges only trials took place in Victoria, Australia and Ffyona Livingstone Clark, Barrister at the Victorian Bar, discussed the trials as part of our roundtable discussion.

The Judicial College of Victoria produced two resources to assist judges and practitioners navigate this process. A key feature of the process was that the accused had to apply for such a trial rather than being mandatory. The court would then consider whether or not to grant a trial by judge alone.

Interestingly, more accused applied over time as they could see how acquittal rates were being affected by judge only trials.

In our recent interview with Lady Dorrian, she discussed judge-only trials as a pilot in Scotland and what considerations there may be for such a pilot.

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