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Thompsons Solicitors say heavy handed changes to courts spells trouble

Thompsons Solicitors has warned of dire consequences as a result of today’s (Tuesday) failed attempt to halt the closure of ten sheriff courts and seven justice of the peace courts in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee voted against amendments to annul the court closures which will come into force on 29th June. Proposals to close 20 per cent of Scotland’s sheriff courts were agreed by Ministers back in April but attempts by Lewis Macdonald MSP to annul the decision and allow the full Parliament to debate the issue were voted down by five votes to four.

Patrick McGuireThompsons Partner Patrick McGuire said: “It is hugely worrying that the Scottish Government has surged ahead with such unpopular and controversial measures which ultimately will be detrimental to the access Scottish people have to justice.”

The closures come as reforms to the entire court system are being considered in separate legislation which could see only civil cases with a value of more than £150,000 being heard in the Court of Session. The threshold currently stands at £5,000 and measures in the draft Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill propose that all cases valued under £150,000 will move to the sheriff courts or a dedicated personal injury court.

Mr McGuire added: “The deluge of cases which will result in the court closures and the increased threshold value on civil cases being heard in the Court of Session will undoubtedly put massive pressure on the court system and this is something everyone should be worried about.

“Access to a sound and robust justice system should be a God given right and not just another sector ripe for consumerism”.


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