Arbroath Courthouse has been transferred to community ownership, six years after it closed as a centre for justice.
The 19th Century building has been handed over to the Arbroath Community Courthouse Trust (ACCT) to be transformed into a hub for locals.
It is hoped the High Street landmark can now be used for education and creative purposes, following the community asset transfer.
ACCT has been working to secure funding for the revamp but its options were limited due to it not owning the building.
Trust chairman Angus Roberts said the handover was a major step forward.
“The Trust has been working with Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS), potential funders, local business and the wider community for a number of years and is delighted to have reached this milestone,” he said.
“Our business plan sets out a range of uses to bring the building back into beneficial use for the community.
“We are now in the middle of applying for further funding but we needed to own the building before we could do that, the whole process has been quite complex.”
The ACCT hopes an upgraded Arbroath Courthouse will be a catalyst for new social trading opportunities and a way to attract visitors from elsewhere.
The aim is to provide opportunities for life-long learning and increase participation in creative activities.
Mr Robertson said: “A centre of the type envisaged would be part of an enduring legacy for the town at large.”
Arbroath Sheriff Court was built between 1803 and 1808.
It served as the sheriff court until 2014, when a controversial decision to transfer court business to Forfar was made.
In the year following the closure, the building was targeted by vandals several times, leading to fears it would be seriously damaged before it could be given a new lease of life.
Recently, it has been used to host arts events by the Hospitalfield Trust.
The ACCT paid a nominal £1 fee after proving its financial case and the benefit to the community. It is hoped work can start early next year.
A number of public meetings have been held to decide the best use for the building.
Richard Maconachie, SCTS chief finance officer, said: “We are delighted to be able to hand over this important and historic building to the partnership which will enable it to remain a vital community centred asset to Arbroath.”