Aberdeen’s new civil court complex has been opened by Scotland’s most senior judge with claims it will speed up the justice system in the north-east.
The Aberdeen Civil Justice Centre and Commercial Court was officially unveiled yesterday in a ceremony attended by the Lord Gill – the Lord President – and Kenny MacAskill, the Cabinet Secretary of Justice.
The complex was built as part of the reforms which saw a number of court buildings closed across Scotland to save money and streamline services.
Civil cases previously heard at Stonehaven Sheriff Court, which closed in May, will now be dealt with at the Aberdeen centre.
Lord Gill, who is also chairman of the Scottish Court Service Board, said the new centre “epitomises” the purpose of the reforms.
He said: “It will increase the rate at which cases can be heard. Its technical facilities will reduce witness waiting times, allowing litigants and witnesses to participate by video or telephone conference.
“Overall it should reduce unnecessary delay and expense to parties which have blighted our court system for so long.”
Grampian, Highland and Islands Sheriff Principal, Derek Pyle, said the court would allow Aberdeen oil companies to litigate in their home city.
He added: “This will encourage indigenous oil and gas concerns to settle their disputes in Aberdeen which has much of the UK’s commercial litigation involving multi-nationals. The centre will provide a speedy specialist forum for disputes to be resolved.”
The building has three new court rooms and video conferencing facilities, which can be used to hear evidence from anywhere in the world and allow vulnerable witnesses to give evidence outside a courtroom.