Future of Sheriff Court

Following the announcement of plans for a review of Court services in Scotland and the possibility of closing smaller courts and centralising proceedings, concerns were raised over the future of Stonehaven Sheriff Court. This newspaper contacted the Scottish Court service (SCS) who said it was too early to speculate on individual courts.

A spokesperson for the SCS said: “The Scottish Court Service is conducting an overall review of its business and considering how it can continue to deliver a good court service within a smaller budget in the years ahead.

“Part of that review is looking at what court business should be done in different locations around the country. This consideration links to potential changes in the way that court business is done in the future, including more use of information technology, and draws on the recommendations from the recent civil courts and sheriff and jury procedure reviews.

“We are discussing options for delivering a good service at lower cost with SCS staff and members of the judiciary at the moment. At this stage in our planning we are fact-finding to ensure we fully understand and reflect on issues from each local area and take these into account, along with the other business analysis work that we are undertaking.

“When this review work is complete it will be our intention to produce ideas for further discussion and at that stage we will want to involve a wide representation of interested groups and individuals to help us develop and improve our proposals. Any proposal to close a court will require a full public consultation to be undertaken and ultimately, a decision by the Scottish Parliament.”