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CRIMINAL Proceedings
in scotland

It's only natural that taking part in criminal proceedings makes you feel anxious and that a few questions come to mind.

You may like to know what is going to happen and what you are supposed to do. Here you can find a short description of the phases in this process.
We will try to give you short and simple answers to questions such as:
"How to report a crime?",
"How is the investigation conducted?",
"What happens in court?", "What is an appeal?"

The process can be long and involves different participants. To know more about them, go to who is who?

The process applied to individuals aged 16 and above is described here. If the crime was committed by a child or young person aged below 16, then special criminal proceedings apply.

 
 
CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESSES
REPORTING A CRIME
101 is the new number to contact the police when it’s less urgent than 999.
The 101 non-emergency number will make it quicker and easier for you to contact the police when you don’t need an emergency response, for example to:
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INVESTIGATION OF AN OFFENCE
After a crime is reported you may be interviewed to gather more information. Following this you may not hear from the police for some time.
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DECISION TO PROSECUTE
If the police think there is enough information to take a case to court, they will report the case to the Procurator Fiscal (PF) often just called the Fiscal. The PF may decide to take the case further, or to take no further action.
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WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE A COURT CASE
Sometimes the PF or someone on their behalf, known as a precognition officer, speaks to some or all of the witnesses individually about the case and the evidence they will give. 
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WHAT HAPPENS AT COURT
Getting a case ready for court can take some time. This is because it is important for everyone that the case has been properly prepared and that all the information is accurate. There are various steps that may take place in the court process.
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COURT OUTCOME – WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
It is never possible to predict how long each court case will last. Some cases last only one day, others can go on for several days, weeks or much longer. It usually depends on how many witnesses there are and how long each witness takes to give their evidence.
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APPEAL PROCESS
Only the convicted person or the prosecution can make an appeal. Victims of crime who are unhappy with the verdict or sentence can talk to VIA about how they feel and ask for a meeting with the fiscal or trial prosecutor to find out more about what happened and, if possible, the reasons for it.
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