Town halls could be used for court cases

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The Independent Online

Town Halls could be hired out as courts to raise money for councils and increase the speed of justice, local authorities have suggested.

The proposals, which have been submitted to ministers, would ensure minimal disruption for victims, witnesses and police officers, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

The Ministry of Justice is considering closing up to 103 magistrates' courts and 54 county courts across England and Wales to cut costs.

Mehboob Khan, chairman of the LGA's safer and stronger communities board, said: "Although specialist courts are needed in some cases, in the vast majority of court cases council buildings would be more than adequate."

The LGA said it was concerned that the planned court closures could raise serious issues over the time taken for cases to come to court and for witnesses and victims to attend.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The consultations are part of the process to review how justice might in the future best be delivered across England and Wales."

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