A local MSP has defended a decision to close a number of sheriff courts in Scotland, including Peebles and Duns, saying she "could not argue" against the arguments put forward by Scotland's most senior judge, Lord Gill to support their closure.
SNP MSP Christine Grahame says the closures do not mean users of the justice system in the Borders will receive a poorer service.
In the Lord Gill’s view the current network of sheriff courts is not fit for purpose and I could not argue against his sensible testimony to the committee. After all throughout his distinguished legal career Lord Gill has worked his way up from grass roots level and knows the system inside out. It was the intellectual case rather than the financial one which won the day.
– Christine Grahame MSP, Midlothian South Tweeddale & Lauderdale
MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee will vote today on plans to close local courts across Scotland.
The sheriff courts in Peebles, Duns and Kirkudbright are all under threat after Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill backed Scottish Court Service recommendations.
Opposition leaders have written an open letter to the Justice Committee, asking its members to support a motion to annul the proposals and 'stand up for local services, jobs, businesses and proper access to justice'.
The SNP holds a majority on the Justice Committee, with five MSPs to four from opposition parties.