§ Ms Roseanna Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the average length of time in criminal cases between the charging of a suspect and the subsequent bringing of the case before(a) district courts, (b) sheriff courts and (c) high courts in the last year for which figures are available. 
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
The information requested is not readily available. In summary cases, the average period between the police charging a suspect and the case calling in court will depend on the time taken by the police to submit a report to the procurator fiscal, the time taken by the procurator fiscal to serve a complaint on the accused and the availability of a court diet. If the police detain the accused, he must be brought before the court on the next lawful day. If the accused is released for report, the time taken to submit the report will vary according to the complexity of the case and other factors. The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland has calculated that between 50 and 75 per cent. of such reports are submitted within 28 days. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate informs me that, between June 1995 and June 1996, the average period between receipt of a report by the procurator fiscal and service of a complaint was 5.1 weeks in the sheriff court and five weeks in the district court. In custody cases, the complaint will be served on the accused on the same day as the report is received by the procurator fiscal. The information requested is not available for solemn cases prosecuted in the sheriff or High Courts.