Phase 2 of the Scottish Court Service’s (SCS) court restructuring plan is now underway, with a number of courts in the East of Scotland affected by the changes.
Court business from Stonehaven Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court has transferred to Aberdeen, where construction is already underway of a modern and fully equipped civil centre and commercial court with state of the art technology.
SCS says that the separation of criminal and civil proceedings in Aberdeen will provide a greatly improved court environment allowing, for example, children's hearings to take place in a more appropriate courtroom setting.
Also as part of phase 2 of the restructuring plan, Arbroath Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court business has transferred to Forfar, and court business in Cupar has transferred to Dundee.
"Our vision is to have court structures in place that are cost effective, proportionate, accessible and efficient,” explained SCS Chief Executive Eric McQueen. “Cases and appeals will be heard by the right court in both civil and criminal cases, with the highest courts reserved for the most serious and complex cases. Court procedures will be as easy as possible to understand and access and cases dealt with as efficiently as possible once they come to court.”
"Investing in fewer courts enables us to make these improvements to facilities and technology, which will provide better services for all court users, and in particular victims and witnesses,” he added. “Where sheriff courts are closing we have installed facilities to allow victims and witnesses to use video technology to give evidence or make contact with the court, where this is allowed by the current legislation. Future legislative changes will extend the circumstances where video links are possible in criminal and civil procedures."
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