HC Deb 27 May 1875 vol 224 cc925-6

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he has received certain Memorials, laying before him reasons why it would be expedient that Sheriff Courts should be held at Hawick and Galashiels; and, whether he is prepared to recommend the Secretary of State to prescribe that Courts should be held in those towns, under the powers conferred by 33 and 34 Vic. c. 86?


asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he has considered certain Memorials addressed to him on behalf of the people of Kirkcaldy and Dysart on the necessity of a Sheriff Court at Kirkcaldy, and whether he is prepared to recommend to the Secretary of State to direct that a Court should be held in that town under the powers conferred by the Act 33 and 34 Vic. s. 36?


I have recently received the memorials from Hawick, Galashiels, Kirkcaldy, and Dysart, in favour of Sheriff Courts being established in these towns. I have not been able to advise the Government that the prayer of these memorials should be agreed to. In Roxburghshire, there is a Sheriff Court at Jedburgh, the head burgh of the county; in Selkirkshire there is a Sheriff Court at Selkirk; and in Fife there are two Sheriff Courts—one at Cupar and the other at Dunfermline, where the sheriff-substitutes reside, and where there are proper buildings and staffs of clerks for carrying on the judicial business. To establish Sheriff Courts in the way desired by the memorialists, involves the provision of suitable court-house buildings and of a sufficient staff of clerks. The cost of providing the buildings, which is not inconsiderable, would fall to be defrayed, one-half from the public funds and the other by assessment on the county and the burghs situated within it, and the expense of the staff of officials would fall on the public funds. Adverting to the amount of business coming from the districts around Hawick, Galashiels, and Kirkcaldy, and to the great facilities now afforded by means of railways to the parties and witnesses attending at the Sheriff Courts already established, I have not felt myself justified in recommending that additional Courts should be established in these towns, involving, as they must do, considerable additional charge both on the public funds and local rates. I may mention that there are small Debt Courts held in the above towns, and there can be no objection to these Courts being held more frequently if that is desired.