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NEWS | 25th March 2020

In these unprecedented times we find ourselves in, Community Justice Scotland will be doing our very best to maintain our work with communities across Scotland. There will be changes to how we deliver some aspects of our work, such as our training courses. We will keep you updated.

To all of our partners who continue to deliver critical services across Scotland, we would like to say thank you. Adapting to what is a rapidly changing situation whilst often going above and beyond is indicative of your professionalism, and your commitment to our communities. We will continue to support you in any way that we can.

This will be a fast moving situation for community justice. We will update this page regularly to keep you informed, so that we can continue to provide as much help and support for local areas as we can.

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the illness caused by a new strain of Coronavirus. It can cause a cough and/or a fever/high temperature. Latest guidance about COVID-19 from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government can be found here:

Policy and Legislation

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 received Royal Assent and came into force on Tuesday 7 April 2020. More information can be found here:

The Act introduced various measures of relevance to the delivery of community justice in Scotland, including the early release of some people from prison; extending the length for completion of all current community payback orders that include an unpaid work or other activity element by 12 months; an option to further vary or postpone community orders en masse as required; measures to allow the virtual delivery of justice processes include remote juries and Parole Board hearings.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 11th May 2020 and passed Stage 3 on 20th May, introducing a range of further measures modifying justice delivery, including the extension of time limits for criminal proceedings.

Further detail about this legislation can be found here:

These Acts introduced these measures for a time limited period (initially 6 months with the potential for extension, to a maximum of 18 months total), due to expire in September 2021. The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act became law on 4 August 2021, extending Part 1 of both Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act and Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 until 31 March 2022. This means that the changes to the law in Part 1 of each of these Acts will continue to be the law until that time. This Act also allows secondary legislation to be used to extend Part 1 of each of these Acts further, to 30 September 2022.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making was published on 23 April 2020. It sets out the challenges Scotland faces during COVID-19 and outlines the approach and principles that will guide the Scottish Government as it makes decisions about transitioning out of the current lockdown arrangements. Read more:

Published on Thursday 21 May 2020, the Scottish Government’s route map gives an indication of the order in which they will seek to change current restrictions. It provides practical examples of what people, organisations and businesses can expect to see change over time. The phasing table will continue to be updated. Read more:

The Community Orders (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 approved by the Scottish Parliament in March 2021, vary Unpaid Work (UPW) or Other Activity Requirements in existing Community Payback Orders (CPOs) by reducing the number of hours imposed in each order by 35% (with some exceptions*). The purpose of the regulations is to reduce pressure on Justice Social Work services arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Exceptions apply as follows:

(i)an offence that is aggravated as described in section 1(1)(a) of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016(2) and has been recorded as such under section 1(5) of that Act,

(ii)an offence under section 1(1) of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018(3),

(iii)an offence listed in paragraphs 36 to 60 of Schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003(4),

(iv)the offence of stalking as defined in section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010(5)

SHORE and COVID-19 Guidance

In light of the current Covid-19 situation, appropriate housing on release from prison is of critical importance. As such, interim SHORE guidance has been developed by the prison service and the Scottish Government. Download and read the guidance here.

Links to further support

Contact us

As always, you can get in touch with us via social media, email or mobile. We remain contactable and happy to help. Team profiles and contact details here:  Our general contact information: