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Ministry of Justice confirms 86 courts across England and Wales WILL close

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8

Twenty-two will be relocated to other sites

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced that 86 courts and tribunals will close.

Late last year the government unveiled plans to close 91 sites across England and Wales. With today’s news it would appear very few have escaped the chop.

Of the 86 set to close, 22 will do so but continue in different government-owned buildings.

Five have, however, escaped the swinging axe of the MoJ all together. These are Bath, Carmarthen, Stockport, West Cumbria and St Helens County Court (although St Helens Magistrates’ Court will close).

With the courts’ consultation receiving 2,100 individual responses, and 13 petitions set up against the closures generating in excess of 13,000 signatures, the report announcing the news made clear that a decision to close a court was not “taken lightly”.

Here is the lengthy list of closures released by the government today:

London

Feltham Magistrates’ Court
Greenwich Magistrates’ Court
Hammersmith County Court (formerly West London County Court)
Pocock Street Tribunal Hearing Centre
Richmond-upon-Thames Magistrates’ Court
Tottenham Magistrates’ Court
Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court
Woolwich County Court

Midlands

Birmingham Youth Court
Burton-upon-Trent Magistrates’ Court
Corby Magistrates’ Court
Kettering County Court
Kettering Magistrates’ Court
Sandwell Magistrates’ Court
Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court
Skegness Magistrates’ Court
Solihull Magistrates’ Court
Stafford Magistrates’ Court
Worksop Magistrates’ Court

North East

Halifax County Court and Family Court
Halifax (Calderdale) Magistrates’ and Family Court
Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court and County Court
Morpeth County Court
Rotherham Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court
Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court
Wakefield Magistrates’ Court

North West

Accrington County Court
Accrington Magistrates’ Court
Bolton County Court and Family Court
Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court
Oldham County Court
Oldham Magistrates’ Court
Runcorn (Halton) Magistrates’ Court
St Helens Magistrates’ Court
Tameside County Court
Trafford Magistrates’ Court and Altrincham County Court

South East

Basildon Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (Acorn House)
Bedford and Mid Beds Magistrates’ Court and Family Court and Bedford County Court
and Family Court
Bicester Magistrates’ Court and Family Court
Chichester Magistrates’ Court
Colchester County Court and Family Court
Colchester County Court Offices
Dartford Magistrates’ Court
Dover Magistrates’ Court
Harlow Magistrates’ Court
Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court
Redhill Magistrates’ Court and Family Court and Reigate County Court and Family Court
St Albans County Court
Watford Magistrates’ Court and Family Court
West Berkshire (Newbury) Magistrates’ Court

South West

Barnstaple Crown Court
Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court
Cheltenham Rivershill House Tribunal
Chippenham Magistrates’ Court, Civil Court and Family Court
Dorchester Crown Court
Fareham Magistrates’ Court
Gloucester Magistrates’ Court
North Avon (Yate) Magistrates’ Court
Stroud Magistrates’ Court
Torquay Magistrates’ Court

Wales

Brecon Law Courts
Bridgend Law Courts
Neath and Port Talbot Civil and Family Court
Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court
Wrexham Tribunal (Rhyd Broughton)

COURTS THAT ARE CLOSING BUT WILL RELOCATE TO DIFFERENT BUILDINGS

London

Bow County Court
Lambeth County Court

Midlands

Buxton Magistrates’ Court and County Court
Grantham Magistrates’ Court
Hinckley Magistrates’ Court

North East

Consett Magistrates’ Court

North West

Kendal Magistrates’ Court and County Court*
Macclesfield County Court
Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court
Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court and Family Court
Warrington County Court

South East

Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court
Bury St. Edmunds Magistrates’ Court and Family Court and Bury St. Edmunds Crown Court
Chichester Combined Court (Crown and County)
Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court
Kings Lynn County Court and Family Court
Tunbridge Wells County Court and Family Court

Wales

Carmarthen Law Courts (The Guildhall)
Dolgellau Crown and Magistrates’ Court*
Holyhead Magistrates’ Court*
Llangefni Civil and Family Court
Prestatyn Magistrates’ Court

8 Comments

Anonymous

Glad to see the Privy Arbital Court survived.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Rotherham isn’t in the North East.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What a shame that Redhill is to close. Serves justice to a wide area of Surrey. Hope staff and magistrates will be looked after!

(1)(1)

Anonymous

I’ve been in one of the magistrates’ courts due for closure today as a member of the public and was amazed how many people were waiting to go before the magistrates. There were about five interview rooms being used by solicitors and their clients plus at least two courts were operating at the same time. Being such a busy magistrates’ court I truly wonder how anyone can justify its closure other than possbly on costs, no account seems to be taken of how everyone is expeected to travel to the new catchemnt area court by public transport, are theese costs taken into accout, I doubt it.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

I am assuming the comment about Redhill serving “justice” was ironic?

(1)(0)

Scouser of Counsel

Having visited so many of these as a pupil, the list gave me a pang of sad nostalgia.

The reality is that there is enough work to go into these under-used courts- there just aren’t enough Legal Advisors.

The reason many of them are deemed under-used is that they only sit for a couple of days a week for the above reasons. Other nearby courts are thus teeming with cases. Double triple and quadruple listing of trials is commonplace and trials are being adjourned three or four times simply for “lack of court time” thereby delaying justice for all concerned.

This consultation was a sham. A massive massaging of the figures. It’s all very well to say that a court is only utilising 20% of its capacity and should therefore close. The complexion changes when one realises that the reason is that the court is only opened for one day a week by the MoJ, and the nearest full time court is struggling to cope!

Dr Beeching would be proud of this one.

Epic MoJ fail.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

I hope Bow County Court relocates somewhere nicer. Like Belgravia.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Court buildings represent justice and the rule of law, and these closures demonstrate how much this government value those ideas.

In addition, the minister who announced this said that “95% of citizens would still be able to reach their required court within an hour by car.” This seems to completely ignore that many travelling to magistrates’ courts are unable to travel by car and have to rely on public transport.

Trials will be adjourned as defendants won’t show up, witnesses will be put off attending and the courts that are meant to take the strain will be busier than ever.

(5)(1)

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