MSPs clash over court closures

PLANS to close sheriff courts were ­defended in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

Justice secretary Kenny Mac­Askill told MSPs: “Reform is ­necessary. We cannot deliver better access to justice by avoiding the need for change.”

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But Labour MSP Iain Gray blasted the move and a three-month consultation as a “sham”. He added: “This is a cost-saving exercise [and] nothing to do with providing access to justice.”

The Scottish Court Service (SCS) proposes shutting courts in Dornoch, Duns, Kirkcudbright, Peebles, Rothesay, Alloa, Cupar, Dingwall, Arbroath, Haddington and Stonehaven.