Section 59: Establishing JP courts
349.This section imposes a general duty on the Scottish Ministers to make provision for summary criminal courts. The Scottish Ministers are also given the power to establish JP courts by order, with reference to particular sheriff court districts. It is intended that JP courts will eventually replace district courts and will be established on a phased basis, sheriffdom by sheriffdom, for the purpose of delivering a unified summary criminal courts administration under the administration of SCS.
350.Before making an order establishing JP courts, the Scottish Ministers must consult the sheriff principal for the relevant sheriffdom. There is a presumption that there will be at least one JP court established for each sheriff court district, except where Scottish Ministers determine that a JP court is not necessary. Currently there are no district courts in the sheriff court districts of Lerwick, Orkney and Lochmaddy. It is not anticipated that any JP courts will be established in these districts.
351.Subsection (5) requires Scottish Ministers, in deciding whether a JP court is necessary, to take account of the amount of summary criminal business and the capacity of other JP or sheriff courts in the sheriffdom.
352.Subsection (6) provides that, where JP courts have been established, Scottish Ministers may subsequently, by order, provide for the relocation or disestablishment of a JP court. Subsection (7) provides that, before making such an order, Scottish Ministers must consult the sheriff principal for the relevant sheriffdom.