CUPAR’S newest councillor is calling on people in north east Fife to help save the town’s sheriff court amid fears that it could face closure.
The Scottish Court Service is currently holding a series of ‘dialogue events’ with key professionals throughout Scotland as part of a proposed shake-up of Scottish courts.
Later this year it is to launch a public consultation - and Councillor Karen Marjoram is urging local people to participate.
Councillor Marjoram attended a dialogue event in Perth this week along with around 40 other interested parties, including sheriffs, lawyers, police officers and trade union representatives.
She said that all those who attended were overwhelmingly in support of justice being delivered at a local level.
“I am concerned about the impact on local businesses, not just the legal firms, but also the local support services such as victim support, if court work was moved to another location,” Councillor Marjoram told the Fife Herald.
“People will be effectively denied the right to having their case seen in court if they are deterred from taking out a civil case due to the fact it will cost them so much to get there.
“The fact that local lawyers would have to relocate would also deny people advice and justice locally.”
She went on: “I am also concerned that the victims of crime and the witnesses to local crimes will have to travel a distance to attend court, when this is already a traumatic enough event for people.
“Victims would have to travel on the same buses or trains to get to the court, which could cause problems.
“I was not surprised that the overwhelming consensus of opinion of all stakeholders in the room was that court closures were being suggested not as a means to deliver justice better, but as a means to deliver justice cheaper.
“This event was the first step in the ‘consultation process’ and the final say will be made in the Scottish Parliament; however I urge local people to have their voices heard about the possibility of the closure of Cupar court as soon as the public consultation starts this September.”