157 magistrates' and county courts to close in cutbacks
Thursday 24 June 2010
The Government yesterday announced plans to close 157 magistrates' and county courts across England and Wales. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, said the move could save £15.3m a year and a one-off maintenance backlog bill of £21.5m.
Mr Clarke said he wanted to examine whether new technology could be used to help people resolve disputes in a more flexible, faster and effective way. Among magistrates courts earmarked for closure are Frome, Hemel Hempstead, Acton, Newbury and Rochdale. County courts threatened include Ashford, Cheltenham and Chepstow.
In a written statement, Mr Clarke said the Government will keep courts open in the "most strategically important locations". Consultation papers setting out proposals to close 103 magistrates' courts and 54 county courts, 40 per cent of the 530 currently open, have been published online.
Mr Clarke said: "When public finances are under pressure, it is vital to eliminate waste and reduce costs. At the same time we should also take the opportunity to think afresh about more modern court services. The arrangements we have are historical and need to be reassessed to ask if they meet the needs of society as it is today."
Jonathan Djanogly, the Courts Minister, said the closures could open the door to new ways of working which do not require witnesses to attend court.
He said the Government would take "all views into account" when considering which courts should close. Senior union officials have already vowed to fight the closures and the loss of any public sector jobs. Norina O'Hare of the Public and Commercial Services union, said the cuts would have a "direct impact" on the local delivery of justice.
Magistrates' courts handle more than 90 per cent of cases, from minor criminal matters to motoring offences, civil family cases and licensing. But the workload of Crown Courts is rising while that of magistrates' court has declined.
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
newsThat most ancient of crimes is on the rise, threatening farmers' livelihoods, community trust – and human health
food + drink
sportIf you thought the London Olympics and Wiggins' Tour glory made last year best, don't forget Murray's Wimbledon win and Farah's double
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Paul Walker: Fans hold memorial and car rally for Fast & Furious actor
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
Scores injured after partial ceiling collapses on to audience at Apollo Theatre in London's West End
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 3 27 animals died during filming of Hollywood blockbuster The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, says report
- 4 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: QA .NET Agile UNIX LIN...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# ASP.NET SQL Develop...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET SQL Developer (Software Developer, Softw...
£500 - £650 per day: Harrington Starr: Excellent opportunity for Murex Subject...