Guide

After a crime: your rights

Last updated: 2 March 2017

At court

If you're not called as a witness

You can ask the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service:

  • what offences a person has been charged with – once the accused has had a chance to answer to them (only the general nature of the charges)
  • what's happening with a case in court
  • what decision the judge, sheriff or justice of the peace made about a case

Visit the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service website for more details of how to get information in relation to the case and for information on the calling of cases to court, including trials due to call in the near future. This includes cases in:

  • the High Court of Justiciary
  • Sheriff Courts
  • Justice of the Peace Courts

If you are called as a witness

If you are a witness, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service will:

  • update you on the progress of the court case at least once per hour and let you know when you can leave court
  • provide separate waiting rooms for prosecution and defence witnesses, and access to refreshments

If you're entitled to give your evidence to court by live TV link, someone from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service will meet you on the day and explain the process for giving evidence to court.

Speak to the person who cited you as a witness to check if you're entitled to give your evidence by live TV link. This will usually be a lawyer or the Procurator Fiscal who is prosecuting the case.

The Witness Service has a presence in all High Court and Sheriff Court locations and will give you help and support if you're called as a witness to a crime. They will:

  • give you practical help and information on what happens at court
  • arrange for you to visit the court before the trial starts – so you know what to expect

If you've been contacted by the Victim Information and Advice (VIA) service, they can arrange a court visit with the Witness Service for you.

If the accused pleads guilty or is found guilty:

  • you're entitled to request information on the final outcome of the case
  • you'll be advised if the offender must pay you compensation

If the accused is found not guilty/verdict is not proven or case doesn't proceed to a verdict you're entitled to request information in relation to the verdict or outcome.

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After a crime: your rights
At court