Warning over court closures

SCOTTISH Liberal Democrats have urged the SNP to heed concerns being vopiced by rural communities over court closures.

The call came during an opposition day debate at the Scottish Parliament on access to justice.

SNP Ministers have accepted proposals to close a fifth of Scotland’s sheriff courts, all of which lie in rural areas.

Scottish Lib Dem justice spokesperson Alison McInnes has warned that the court closures would confirm the SNP as the party of centralisation.

The North East MSP said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats are anxious about the impact these court closures could have on local rural communities.

“The needs of witnesses, victims, police and others will not be addressed more effectively by these proposed changes.

“This will increase travel times and costs for people who live in rural areas.

“Instead of meaningful reform, what we are seeing is further erosion of local decision-making and locally delivered services.”