THE former Haddington Sheriff Court will not be used as part of the court recovery programme which is to get under way later this year.

The Court Street building closed its doors in early 2015, with all business moving along the A1 to Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a backlog of cases but the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) indicated this week that steps being taken meant that there was “sufficient capacity available through the existing court estate”.

A spokesman for the SCTS said new technology was being used to enable virtual hearings in the Court of Session, sheriff court civil business, sheriff appeal court, personal injury court and increasingly for tribunal hearings.

The introduction of the technology reduced the need for people to attend courts and tribunals buildings.

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He added: “The high court and sheriff solemn court have now returned to pre-Covid capacity, with summary criminal business increasing to pre-Covid capacity prior to the current lockdown.”

Meanwhile, four additional high courts will be set up, with plans suggesting they will meet in Airdrie, Dundee, Inverness and Stirling.

Additional sheriff solemn courts could be created in Dumfries and Dunfermline, with up to 10 summary trial courts to be allocated across the sheriff courts, based on the level of backlog cases and safe court capacity.

The spokesman added: “With these steps being taken, sufficient capacity is available through the existing court estate.

“Over the coming months, we will be working with justice organisations, the legal profession and the third sector to prepare for the recovery programme, which will be dependent on continued progress on vaccination and Covid transmission rates.”