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Study recommends keeping two courts

A FEASIBILITY study into the future of justice services in the Borders has concluded that courts in Jedburgh and Selkirk should be retained.

A working group had been tasked with considering whether to keep the two sheriff courts open, create a single central "justice centre" or establish a number of smaller centres.

The study decided the best approach was to keep the two courts but improve the use of technology between them.

Sheriff courts in Duns and Peebles are due to shut in 2015.

The findings will be considered by Scottish Borders Council at a meeting on Thursday.

Eric McQueen, chief executive of the Scottish Courts Service, said the study provided a "solid platform to deliver the best services for the people of the Scottish Borders".

Local LibDem MSP Jim Hume said: "It's quite right that access to justice should not be jeopardised, but the option of closing Jedburgh and Selkirk sheriff courts threatened to do just that with expert opinion from groups like the Law Society of Scotland, Women's Aid and many other charities warning of the consequences of further court closures.

"The option to close Jedburgh and Selkirk sheriff courts was hugely unpopular and indeed I've received hundreds of letters and phone calls from people across the Borders worried about losing key services from their communities."

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