Reprieve for Borders Sheriff Courts

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The two remaining Sheriff Courts in the Borders are being recommended to be kept open, rather than a Justice Centre being created at Galashiels.

A feasibility study, approved by the Scottish Courts Service has recommended retention of Sheriff Courts in Jedburgh and Selkirk.

The possible loss of the two courts came shortly after the closure of Duns and Peebles Sheriff Courts was approved by the Scottish Government, and was fiercely opposed by local MSPs John Lamont (Conservative) and Jim Hume (Lib Dem).

Mr Lamont said:“I am delighted that the Scottish Courts Service has finally seen sense and put an end to this ridiculous notion. The closure of Duns and Peebles Sheriff Courts was a body blow to our justice system in the Borders, and to follow this up by shutting more Sheriff Courts was verging on lunacy.

“We need a justice system that is tailored to the Borders, and closing local courts and centralising our court system in Gala would achieve the exact opposite of this. It would have meant that the majority of Borders residents would be left with a huge journey to access their justice system, and leave many unable to make early morning appointments.”

Jim Hume added: “This is a victory for local campaigning against further court closures.

“It’s quite right that access to justice should not be jeopardised, but the option of closing Jedburgh and Selkirk sheriff courts threatened to do just that.

“The option to close Jedburgh and Selkirk sheriff courts was hugely unpopular and indeed I’ve received hundreds of letters and phone calls from people across the Borders worried about losing key services from their communities.

“The verdict is a win for local justice in the Borders.”