Local MP Michael Moore has slammed the Scottish Government as being “completely out of touch with local people” after the closing of Duns Sheriff Court.
Duns was just one of 17 Sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts to have closed across Scotland, despite strong objections from local communities.
Mr Moore said: “It is a huge blow to people in Berwickshire that Duns court has closed its doors for the last time. This closure and others across Scotland are proof that the SNP are totally out of touch with what local communities want.
“In the face of strong objections from local people, the SNP wielded their majority to push their centralisation agenda on justice provision through parliament in Holyrood.
“As a result, we’ve lost the court in Duns which will mean local people will have to travel to Jedburgh to have their cases heard.”
Mr Moore described communities’ concerns over court closures as symptomatic of a perceived centralisation of services under the current government.
“While unprecedented powers are in the process of being devolved to Holyrood,” he said, “I am joining my Scottish Liberal Democrat colleagues in challenging the SNP to be equally prepared to begin a process of decentralisation across Scotland. I want to Borders communities put back in charge of their own destiny.”
John Lamont, Mr Moore’s MSP counterpart, also weighed in on the closure.
“Today is a bad day for justice, as a vital local court, which hears hundreds of cases a year, is set to close,” he said. “Despite experts from all across the justice system warning against closures, the SNP forced them through in a bid to save money.
“But these closures will fail to make significant savings as cases in Jedburgh will become more and more delayed and as witnesses have to travel further to get to court.
“And the court which is meant to take on extra business is already struggling and failing to meet its target in nearly half of all cases.”