The Borders 21st century justice system - no courts?

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As the Scottish Government continues to roll out its plans for a justice system “fit for the 21st century” it is under attack for being secretive about its plans for the Borders.

Duns and Peebles Sheriff Courts are already scheduled to close next year and Borders MSPs John Lamont (Conservative) and Jim Hume (Scottish Liberal Democrat) claim to have uncovered secret plans by the Scottish Government which would leave the region with no Sheriff Courts and a Justice Centre in their place.

This could tie in with the Government’s announcement this week about plans to create a joint administration for courts and devolved tribunals.

Mr Hume asked: “Is their policy programme ironically entitled ‘Making Justice Work’ merely a smokescreen for removing yet more local courts?

“We now know from this report obtained through freedom of information that Ministers have commissioned a secret group to look at the future of court services in the Borders, and it’s alarming that further court closures are being considered.”

John Lamont added: “The SNP have been dealing hammer blows to our local justice system over the past year, and this shows that they’re not ready to stop yet. Not only are they trying to shut several of our police counters, they have voted in favour of closing half of the courts in the Borders despite vocal opposition against such a move.

“To see that the SNP are still pursuing the idea of closing even more courts is astounding, and shows that they are totally out of touch with Borderers on this issue.

“This would be devastating to our region, and would act to further restrict access to our justice system for even more local residents.