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Scottish Government approves plans to close Sheriff courts

Plans to close 10 sheriff courts in Scotland in a bid to save money have been approved by the Scottish Government.

Duns Court, Peebles and Kirkcudbright could now close.

The changes, proposed by the Scottish Court Service, will also see seven justice of the peace courts closed, with business transferred elsewhere.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the reforms were "justified".

Further consultations are set to take place.

Borders MP "extremely disappointed" with court closures

Borders MP Michael Moore has expressed his disappointment following the announcement last week that the Scottish Court Service has recommended the closure of Duns courts:

“I am extremely disappointed to see that the SCS are still recommending that the Sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts in Duns should be closed.

“I believe that this move would constrain access to justice in Berwickshire because it will force local people to travel further to have their cases heard.

“It is now up to the Scottish Government to decide whether to take these recommendations forward and I am strongly urging them not to do so for the sake of our local justice system here in the Borders.”

– Michael Moore MP


Local politicians 'disappointed' with court closures announcement

Local politicians have expressed their disappointment at the Scottish Courts Service, after they announced that they want to press ahead with plans to close Peebles, Duns and Kirkcudbright Sheriff Courts by January 2015.

"This is simply another case of people here being ignored by the Scottish Government. I am now seeking a full explanation for this disappointing decision, and checking to see if anything else can be done to these courts.

"I will also be lobbying the Scottish Parliament who will now have to approve this proposal, and also lobbying Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill.”

– David Mundell MSP, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, Scottish Conservatives

"I am very disappointed at the recommendation to close Peebles Sheriff Court.

"I made a strong representation to the Scottish Courts Administration both as the MSP for Peebles and as a former court lawyer as to why it should remain open to deliver local justice.

“I continue to oppose closure but in the meantime, as a back-up am pursuing the relocation of court business to Galashiels as a justice centre and if required, in the interim, should Peebels close, for business to transfer to Selkirk. “

– Christine Grahame MSP, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, SNP

Sheriff Court closures

The Scottish Courts Service (SCS) has announced it wants to press ahead with plans to close Peebles, Duns and Kirkcudbright Sheriff Courts by January 2015.

Court proceedings would instead be held in Jedburgh, Selkirk and Dumfries.

The Justice of the Peace Court in Annan is also set to close.

The final decision on court closures will be taken by the Scottish Parliament.

"This is a hugely disappointing decision that will be a massive blow to the justice system we have here in the Borders.

"To shut both Duns and Peebles Sheriff Courts will severely limit the access that many local people have to the justice system as they will have to travel far further to get to their nearest court.

“It also means that a huge amount of pressure will be heaped upon Jedburgh and Selkirk Sheriff Courts as they have to take on the extra workload created by these closures.

“It is disappointing that the Justice of the Peace Courts in Duns and Peebles will also be shutting."

– John Lamont MSP, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire

Sentence to be passed on Scottish Courts

Firm proposals on the future of Sheriff Courts in Peebles, Duns and Kirkcudbright will be revealed today.

The Scottish Courts Service says it needs to reduce the number of court buildings to save money after a twenty per cent reduction in its budget.

The Justice of the Peace Court in Annan is also under threat of closure.

Opponents argue that visible access to local justice will be compromised.

There are also concerns that many people living in rural areas will struggle with transport costs.

A final decision on court closures will be taken by the Scottish Government.