Duns Court has been unused for over two years

Sheriff Drummond outside Duns Sheriff court on the last day of sitting, January 29, 2015.
Sheriff Drummond outside Duns Sheriff court on the last day of sitting, January 29, 2015.

Duns Sheriff Court is still costing the Scottish Courts Service money two years after it was closed.

The court is based in a building shared with Scottish Borders Council making it tricky for the Scottish Court and Tribunal Service to dispose of it - the open market value of the building is estimated at £90,000 if it hadn’t been for the shared ownership.

Responding to a Freedom on Information request by the Scottish Conservatives the Scottish Court Service revealed that Duns is one of six buildings not in use on a day-to-day basis two years after they closed courts across the country in a cost saving exercise.

In December 2015, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service admitted that it paid £20,198 in annual maintenance costs on the former courthouses in its ownership.

Borders MSP John Lamont, who voted against court closures in the Scottish Parliament, said the court service’s failure to make any money from selling off its share of the Duns building highlights the senselessness of closing the court and forcing victims and witnesses to travel to Jedburgh or Selkirk Sheriff Courts.

Mr Lamont said: “The SNP approved the closure of Duns and other Sheriff Courts despite warnings that it would damage access to justice and fail to save significant amounts of money.

“Now we learn that two years after closing its doors to cases, no money has been raised from the sale of the building and that the court service is still paying maintenance costs for a building it isn’t using.

“Scotland wide, courts worth over £1 million are lying empty.

“This just highlights the senselessness of closing Duns Court and forcing victims and witnesses to travel elsewhere. People will rightly be asking whether these unpopular closures were forced through without any thought as to what to do with the buildings afterwards.”