Work has begun on Scotland’s first purpose-built Justice Centre in Inverness due to be completed late 2019. As well as providing modern court and tribunals facilities, a range of justice and support organisations will be based in the centre providing integrated facilities for victims, witnesses, litigants and other users. Specialist facilities for children and young people will be incorporated within the design.
The Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service Chief Executive Eric McQueen and Grampian, Highland and Islands Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle officially broke the ground at the start of construction, joined by the justice centre partners.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Today brings us a step closer to providing new facilities to deliver a truly 21st century service. Scottish Government funding of £30 million has made the project possible, reflecting our commitment to deliver a justice system that is accessible, modern and fit-for-purpose.
“The new Inverness Justice Centre will give the people of the Highlands access to modern facilities and support all in the same place, which will have a positive impact on local communities.”
Eric McQueen, SCTS Chief Executive said: “Inverness Justice Centre is a unique opportunity to bring organisations together, focussing where practical on problem-solving approaches to reduce reoffending and increase the opportunity for community sentencing.
“The centre will represent the changing face of justice by including facilities and technology to remove the need for children to appear in person at court and to support the development of digital case management for summary crime in the future.”
Frank Reid, managing director, Robertson Northern said: "Inverness Justice Centre will host a wide range of vital services and organisations for the local community, making this building one of the most important in the Highlands for years to come.
"Being selected to work on delivering Scotland's first new Justice Centre, through Scape Group’s Major Works framework, is a proud moment and we're looking forward to getting the construction work underway and delivering a hugely significant building that the whole of the Highlands, and Scotland, can be proud of.
“We’re delighted to be involved in the construction of Inverness Justice Centre and look forward to seeing the benefits the new centre will bring to Inverness and the surrounding area for many years to come.”
With ongoing support and funding from the Scottish Government, the SCTS is confident the justice centre will be a landmark building in the city. The design was approved by The Highland Council Planning Committee in September 2017 following extensive and successful public and stakeholder engagement. The justice centre is being constructed on the site of a former bus depot on Longman Road next to the Police Headquarters in Inverness.
In addition to the direct justice benefits, the location of the justice centre means that Inverness Castle – the current home of the courts will transfer to the Highland Council when vacant, enabling a long term desire for its use as a major tourism attraction in Inverness.
Robertson Northern Ltd is scheduled to complete the main building works in 2019.
Organisations and services supported in the justice centre include:
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
- Families Outside
- Highland Council (Criminal Justice Social Work)
- HMCTS (Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, Employment Tribunal)
- NHS Highland
- Police Scotland
- Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
- Scottish Women’s Aid
- Witness Service/Victim Support Scotland