Claims that the closure of Cupar Sheriff Court will lead to chaos have been dismissed by the current Sheriff, Charles Macnair.
Speaking during a recognition ceremony to mark the closure of the Court - and with it the termination of 800 years of legal history in the town - Sheriff Macnair stressed the move will, “not be the disaster predicted.”
In a speech to guests including North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell, Willie Rennie MSP, and former Cupar Sheriff George Evans in the County Buildings on Friday, Sheriff Macnair said that a lengthy association with the town was not enough to justify the continuation of the service locally.
He said: “I know that when the Court closes there will be a considerable amount of sadness that it has happened. However, it is not going to be the disaster predicted. I have been working with the sheriffs in Dundee and we are determined that is not going to happen. The staff are well organised and a lot of work has been put in to ensure the move will go as smoothly as possible. I hope this will put people’s minds at rest as I am aware that there are many here who are opposed to the move and distressed by the closure, but that decision has been made and we must all make sure that this works.”
The Sheriff’s comments were challenged by leading north east Fife solicitor Douglas Williams who claimed he was “missing the point.”
Speaking afterwards Mr Williams, who is Dean of the local law Faculty, said: “I’ve got no difficulties with the Sheriff commending the staff and I’m quite sure that they will have done everything they possibly could to make the transition as smooth as they possibly can but he’s missing the point. The real point is that we had a really tight-knit team here of solicitors, bar officers, social workers, Sheriff Court staff and Procurator Fiscal staff; we all knew each other, we all respected each other professionally, we acted as a team to work through the business and what is going to happen here is you’re going to go to a cityscape where they’re not going to have the time, they’re not going to have the bodies to give the personal service that’s been given by the court service here, and to that extent he has completely missed the point.”
Cupar Sheriff Court is due to close on Friday and all business will be transferred to Dundee.