A TOP lawyer has suggested the courts are not following social distancing or hygiene rules and suggested closing them to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Aamer Anwar accused courts of "failing to enforce social distancing" and said they should be stripped back to a minimum service, or close. 

"We haven't seen infection control measures in place," he claimed. 

The noted human rights lawyer based in Glasgow has called on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) to close all courts if they cannot uphold hygiene standards and said there was "no social-distancing, no sanitisers, no masks," in place at courtrooms in Scotland

"It is a Petri dish, it is a hotbed for coronavirus."

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He expressed concerns for the health of people involved in court proceedings, including "civilians, staff, judges, lawyers, [and] police". 

Jury trials that are already underway will continue to their conclusion when possible but jurours who have been cited have been told not to come to court. 

But the Glasgow University rector said this was not enough. 

He said: "80 per cent of the business of Scottish courts is not to do with jury trials.

"We don't have key worker status, yet me and my colleagues are being asked to put our lives at risk."

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The SCTS said it does not expect to start citing jurors again until June.

A spokesman for the SCTS said: “Coronavirus is having a significant impact on the Scottish justice system and this impact will accelerate in the coming weeks and months.

“To ensure that the public have confidence in the justice system and that we protect public health, we have already ceased all jury trials, adjourned all but essential summary criminal trials, adjourned all civil hearings involving witnesses and ensured that only essential tribunal hearings are proceeding. We have also backed this up with strong advice to the public not to attend our buildings.

“Today we have closed public counters and we are urging everyone to follow government’s advice on social distancing and handwashing. In the coming days and weeks we will continue to work with justice organisations and Scottish Government to continue to manage urgent business in the courts.”