In the most recent edition of the Law Society Gazette, they revealed some statistics relating to the closure of a number of courts.
The statistics show a bias towards some areas having more courts closed than others.
“Access to justice is a right and being able to access a local court, is an important issue the government must preserve”
London has been the least affected. Since 2009, only 14 courts have closed in Greater London. During that same period however, 42 courts were closed in the Midlands.
- 19 courts were closed in Wales
- 28 courts were closed in the South-West
- 28 courts were closed in the South-East
- 18 courts were closed in the North-East
- 17 courts were closed in the North-West
Court Closures Planned
142 courts were identified to be closed back in December 2010. All of those courts identified have now been closed except one. The only remaining court which is still open, is Rhyl County Court which will close next month.
The statistics have been released by the government following a Freedom of information request by the Law Society Gazette. These are not statistics that the government and court service are likely to want to publicise voluntarily.
Closing Courts may save money but it can be at the expense and detriment of court users. It makes sense that the court facilities should be used sensibly but a balance needs to be kept. For example, the civil justice centre in Manchester is a very impressive and well-equipped building. However, which court users should be forced to travel to Manchester to use it?
It will be interesting to see if the government releases any statistics to show whether the number of judges, cases dealt with and administrative staff have been reduced. Ideally, efficiencies will have been created without any damage to the service providers.