Plans to restart jury trials are being looked at today by MSPs as a backlog of hundreds of cases has built up since lockdown.

Plans are being drawn up for the Hight Court in Glasgow where three courts could be used with juries to be spread out across the public galleries to allow social distancing while hearing evidence.

Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary, is appearing before the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee, today along with layers representatives and Victim Support.

Other solutions are still being considered for the longer term, with options, including reducing the number of jurors, remote juries, some trials being without juries, and more creative use of court space, still being considered.

The High Court plan set out by The Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, would see trials with juries resume in July.

The most serious crimes, that require to be heard before a judge and jury have been put on hold until a solution is found to people maintaining the wo metre social distance rule.

As well as juries, of 15 men and women, having to be together in court, juries have to be balloted from a pool who are cited for jury service.

Cases at the Hight Court and some at the Sheriff Court where juries are present have been postponed during lockdown.

Plans to hold trials without juries were withdrawn after MSP expressed opposition following concerns from within the legal profession.

It is estimated there could be a backlog of as many as 3000 cases across Scotland by next Spring because of postponements during lockdown.

Even when lockdown is lifted the likelihood that some social distancing will be required means that more space will be needed and fewer cases will take place .

It is thought that the number of cases in the High court could be around five a week

Lady Dorrian said: “The Courts have been working extremely hard to deliver justice in the current circumstances. The challenges in conducting 15-person jury trials in a physically distanced environment cannot be underestimated.

“A pool of jurors must be cited, assembled and balloted in a way which respects social distancing guidelines.

“Court facilities must be configured to ensure the safety of those involved in the trial, including access for the public and for the media, whilst ensuring effective participation of all the main participants.

“Nothing will take place until we have finalised the planning and can provide the assurance it will be safe for all participating in the trial and proceedings may be recommenced without significant risk to the administration of justice.”