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Cumbernauld Community Forum chairman, Billy Lees, attacks Justice of the Peace court closure proposal

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 10:54 GMT on Friday, 19th April, 2013.
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CUMBERNAULD Community Forum chairman, Billy Lees, has joined the area’s MP in rejecting proposals which could see Cumbernauld’s Justice of the Peace court closed.

If closed, all of the business from the Cumbernauld Justice of the Peace court will be transferred to its Coatbridge equivalent.

Commenting Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East’s Labour MP, Gregg McClymont said that any closure would be a “blow” to Cumbernauld. 

He said: “The loss of our Justice of the Peace Court will be a blow to our town. Local courts ensure easy and speedy access to justice across the country. They are also vital economic contributors to their towns”.

Reacting to the Scottish Court Service’s Chief Executive’s statement, from last week, that the proposals come from the service’s “severe pressure” on budgets, Gregg added:  “A pattern is emerging in Cumbernauld as the SNP Government continue to remove services from Cumbernauld. First it was health services taken away and centralized in Monklands, then it was Cumbernauld College’s independence threatened by the forced merger with Motherwell College, and now it is our courts being removed to Coatbridge.

“Why do the SNP keep removing services from Cumbernauld?”

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The comments from the town’s local Member of Parliament follow the publication of a Scottish Court Service report, last week, which recommended the closure of a number of Justice of the Peace courts, subject to Parliamentary approval.

Recommended for closure include the sheriff courts in Dornoch, Duns, Kirkcudbright, Peebles, Rothesay, Cupar, Dingwall, Arbroath, Haddington and Stonehaven will be closed, with business transferred to nearby locations.  Meanwhile, Justice of the Peace courts in Annan, Irvine, Motherwell, Cumbernauld, Portree, Stornoway and Wick would also shut.

Adding to the Labour MP’s comments, Billy Lees, Chair of the Cumbernauld Community Forum, said: "Everything is getting taken away from us. The Scottish Government is moving everything, it’s already happened to our x-ray services now it's happening to our court. There is no direct public transport to Coatbridge and this will make it even more stressful for victims seeking justice."

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