Plea on future of sheriff court

SSA Parliament
SSA Parliament

FIFE-based MSP Claire Baker has urged the Scottish Government to abandon any plans to close Cupar Sheriff Court.

It is thought the court is under threat as part of the Scottish Court Service’s money-saving drive.

Mid-Scotland and Fife Labour MSP Ms Baker told Parliament that Cupar should be spared the axe.

She said: “As far as possible, we must make sure that access to justice is delivered locally and in a meaningful way.

“I accept, for example, that Cupar is not far from any major centre for someone who drives a car, but if they have to rely on public transport, travel to another court could be costly, time-consuming and inconvenient.”

Speaking after the debate, Ms Baker added: “People in Cupar are speaking out against this proposal.

“I have no doubt that many of them will wish to make the strength of their feeling known to politicians when given an opportunity to take part in a consultation.

“Cupar Sheriff Court not only delivers justice in the community that it serves, but provides crucial support for witnesses to and victims of crime.

“The bottom line is that it should not be closed by the SNP Government.”

If Cupar is earmarked for closure by the Scottish Court Service, a public consultation would have to be carried out.

Jane O’Neill, Labour’s candidate for the Tay Bridgehead council ward, said: “I’ve been speaking to people on doorsteps across the Tay Bridgehead ward and every single person is against the closure of Cupar Sheriff Court.

“They do not want to see victims, witnesses and local police officers having to travel more than 20 miles for access to justice.

“It’s crucial that the SNP Government listens to local voices and drops these proposals.”