|Goole Magistrates' Court|
A further effect, which is regrettable in my view, is that fewer people will be needed in the future to fill the important - but, sadly, minimally appreciated - office of Justice of the Peace. This will only serve to make the law even more remote from ordinary people. Furthermore,
the ancient idea of "trial by peers" (equals) even at a summary justice level suffers a further blow. Trial, that is to say, by local people who live and work in their area and know its problems well. These factors operate, often intangibly, to make justice fairer for the individual. As these "efficiencies" bite, those who remain sitting as "justices" may have to sit longer or at more inconvenient hours and evening or weekend courts have been suggested in some quarters. Justice is not administered well by tired people. I will forecast that even more District Judges (Magistrates' Courts) will be appointed. It will be argued that they are needed to keep on top of the throughput of cases - as appears to have happened already at Northampton - (the linked article speaks for itself).
Of course, I do not seek to argue that there was no scope for savings. There were some courts with relatively few cases. There were others located in old buildings which would have been seriously costly to modernise. Nevertheless, as ever, we seem to see rather too extensive use of the chain saw. Courts which either have or will now fade into honourable history are:
North-East: Guisborough, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyndale, Blaydon, Bishop Auckland, Alnwick, Gosforth, Goole, Keighley
|Salford joins with nearby Manchester|
Midlands: West Bromwich, Ludlow, Tamworth, Retford, Daventry, Halesowen, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Rutland, Towcester, Ilkeston, Sutton Coldfield, Rugby, Melton Mowbray, Coalville, Market Harborough, Newark
South-East: Sudbury, Ely, Wisbech, Thetford, Cromer, Swaffham, Grays, Amersham, Witney, Lewes, Didcot, Epsom, Ashford, Woking, Sittingbourne, Hemel Hempstead.
South West: Frome, Totnes, Coleford, Cirencester, Liskeard, Honiton, Lyndhurst, Wimborne, Penzance, Blandford Forum
Wales: Llandovery, Llangefni, Flint, Chepstow, Abertillery, Llwynypia, Cardigan, Pwllheli, Aberdare, Barry, Ammanford .... see BBC Wales re closures
|Former Whitby Magistrates - closed 2010|
You have served the public well and the legal system may well be the poorer for your passing. Regrettably, even more face the axe in 2012 to 2014. A considerable number of County Court sites have also closed during 2011. My apologies if I missed anyone out. If so, please let me know.
Law Society Gazette - "Justice Secretary announces court closures"