If proof was ever needed of how completely out of touch with reality and practicality the Scottish Court Service (SCS) is, one has only to look at the list of proposed closures of Sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts all over Scotland (your report, 10 April). My remarks concern my local Sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts in Haddington, but they apply equally to all the other courts.
The business of the courts in Haddington will be transferred to Edinburgh. That is all very well, but what arrangements will be made to cope with an increase of court business if it is not to be greatly delayed as a consequence?
Is extra courtroom accommodation to be provided in Edinburgh to cope? If it is, how is the additional expense to be provided if the rationale of reducing courts throughout Scotland is to save money?
It sounds like a Scottish Sir Humphrey logic. Has the SCS even considered the practicalities of witnesses and other participants from the eastern parts of East Lothian travelling to Edinburgh by public transport, never mind the expense?
SCS staff have obviously never endured a bus journey from Dunbar to the centre of Edinburgh and then made their way to the Sheriff court building there. The proposed closure of Haddington Sheriff Court may well save the SCS money, but it will simply shift the expense on to those who have business in the courts and who can least afford it. What about the Sheriff Clerk and JP Clerk offices? Are they also to be closed?
If not, as they are housed in the same buildings as the courts, would it not be logical to retain the courts too? If they are also to be closed, has the SCS considered the impact on people requiring to visit them, such as solicitors and members of the public paying fines?
This whole matter seems to be yet another SNP-inspired half-baked idea and the sooner the recommendations are abandoned the better.