Rothesay Sheriff Court’s future ‘clearer by spring’

Rothesay Sheriff Court currently sits each Monday in Argyll and Bute Council's premises at Eaglesham House (above) - but the Scottish Courts Service wants to close the court altogether to trim its budget by just �6,000.
Rothesay Sheriff Court currently sits each Monday in Argyll and Bute Council's premises at Eaglesham House (above) - but the Scottish Courts Service wants to close the court altogether to trim its budget by just �6,000.

The long-term future of Rothesay Sheriff Court is expected to become clearer by this spring.

A proposal to close the Rothesay court facility and transfer all Bute’s civil and criminal business to Greenock attracted a storm of protest, from members of the public and local and national policitians, when it was published in September.

The planned closure of the Rothesay court facility was one of a range of cost-cutting proposals in the Scottish Courts Service’s consultation, ‘Future Court Structures’, which closed on December 21.

The consultation document estimated that closing the court in Rothesay would save the SCS £6,000 a year.

In a statement the SCS said: “An analysis of consultation responses will be carried out during January and February 2013 and we anticipate publishing a report in April 2013 setting out the SCS response to the consultation and our firm proposals for future court structures.

“The decision on any resulting court closures would be a matter for the Scottish Parliament and would require the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to bring forward subordinate legislation.

“Should the Cabinet Secretary agree with any proposal for court closures it is likely that the necessary orders would be laid before the summer recess.”

Opponents of the SCS proposal said the closure would result in increased travel costs, greater potential for disorder on public transport and more pressure on police resources, as well as making witnesses more reluctant to come forward and give evidence.