Court closures said to be damaging justice

editorial image

SNP court closures have led to cases across Scotland taking record times to reach a conclusion, according to Central Scotland Conservative list MSP Margaret Mitchell.

She says research by the Scottish Conservatives has found that in June – the most recent month for which figures are available – more than a third of sheriff and JP court cases ran over the 26-week target period for being dealt with.

Mrs Mitchell says this is an 11 per cent increase on the same time last year, with the figures getting worse at exactly the same time as the Scottish Government began its closure of JP courts (such as the one formerly in Cumbernauld).

She said: “This is direct evidence that the closure of courts across Scotland is adversely affecting the time it is taking to resolve cases.

“This in turn is causing anxiety and added stress for Crown and Procurator Fiscal staff, witnesses and victims, not to mention innocent people who have a case hanging over them.

“As usual, this majority SNP government and the justice secretary brushed aside not only opposition politicians’ concerns but the concerns expressed by experts.

“Even at this late stage it’s not too late to reverse some of these cuts to ensure Scotland has the adequate court capacity across the whole country our justice system requires.”