The coalition government has announced plans to close 103 magistrates’ courts and 54 county courts in a shake-up that will hopefully save some £15.3 million a year as well as a one off £21.5 million maintenance backlog bill. Figures from the Treasury show that the budget for the Ministry of Justice will drop from £9.6 billion last year to £9.1 billion this year.

The new Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke said in a written ministerial statement that courts will be kept open in the “most strategically important locations”.

He also said that he wants to use this opportunity not only to cut costs and waste but to address how justice is delivered in the UK. "The arrangements we currently have are historical and now need to be re-assessed to ask if they meet the needs of society as it is today.” He said.

He went on to say that more technology needs to be used so that some disputes could be settled outside court or allow them to give evidence remotely.

The closures will lead to merging of criminal justice regions and magistrates will work in a wider number of courts.

Unions have already condemned the move and said they would fight the closures, which would have a ‘direct impact’ on the delivery of justice locally.

Consultations start today and will end on 15th September 2010. A consultation on the reform of the coroner system opened in March this year will close on 1st July.


The list of proposed court closures is as follows (from HERE):

BARRY MAGISTRATES' COURT
ABERDARE MAGISTRATES' COURT
LLWYNYPIA MAGISTRATES' COURT
AMMANFORD MAGISTRATES' COURT
CARDIGAN MAGISTRATES' COURT
LLANDOVERY MAGISTRATES' COURT
LLANGEFNI MAGISTRATES’ COURT
DENBIGH MAGISTRATES' COURT
PWLLHELI MAGISTRATES' COURT
FLINT MAGISTRATES' COURT
CHEPSTOW MAGISTRATES' COURT
ABERTILLERY MAGISTRATES' COURT
ABERGAVENNY MAGISTRATES' COURT
NORTHWICH MAGISTRATES' COURT
SOUTHPORT MAGISTRATES' COURT
KNOWSLEY MAGISTRATES' COURT
WHITEHAVEN MAGISTRATES' COURT
PENRITH MAGISTRATES' COURT
RAWTENSTALL MAGISTRATES' COURT
SALFORD MAGISTRATES' COURT
ROCHDALE MAGISTRATES' COURT
GRAYS MAGISTRATES' COURT
HARLOW MAGISTRATES' COURT
EPPING MAGISTRATES' COURT
ELY MAGISTRATES' COURT
WISBECH MAGISTRATES' COURT
THETFORD MAGISTRATES' COURT
CROMER MAGISTRATES' COURT
SWAFFHAM MAGISTRATES' COURT
SUDBURY MAGISTRATES' COURT
ASHFORD MAGISTRATES' COURT
SITTINGBOURNE MAGISTRATES' COURT
EPSOM MAGISTRATES' COURT
WOKING MAGISTRATES' COURT
MID-SUSSEX MAGISTRATES' COURT
LEWES MAGISTRATES' COURT
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD MAGISTRATES' COURT
BICESTER MAGISTRATES' COURT
WITNEY MAGISTRATES' COURT
DIDCOT MAGISTRATES' COURT
AMERSHAM MAGISTRATES' COURT
NEWBURY MAGISTRATES' COURT
FROME MAGISTRATES' COURT
BRIDGWATER MAGISTRATES' COURT
LISKEARD MAGISTRATES' COURT
NEWTON ABBOT MAGISTRATES' COURT
CAMBORNE MAGISTRATES' COURT
TOTNES MAGISTRATES' COURT
HONITON MAGISTRATES' COURT
PENZANCE MAGISTRATES' COURT
BLANDFORD FORUM MAGISTRATES' COURT
WIMBORNE MAGISTRATES' COURT
COLEFORD MAGISTRATES' COURT
CIRENCESTER MAGISTRATES' COURT
STROUD MAGISTRATES' COURT
ANDOVER MAGISTRATES' COURT
ALTON MAGISTRATES' COURT
LYNDHURST MAGISTRATES' COURT
HALESOWEN MAGISTRATES' COURT
SUTTON COLDFIELD MAGISTRATES' COURT
WEST BROMWICH MAGISTRATES' COURT
RUGBY MAGISTRATES' COURT
STOKE MAGISTRATES' COURT
TAMWORTH MAGISTRATES' COURT
LUDLOW MAGISTRATES' COURT
MARKET DRAYTON MAGISTRATES' COURT
OSWESTRY MAGISTRATES' COURT
ILKESTON MAGISTRATES' COURT
NEWARK MAGISTRATES' COURT
WORKSOP MAGISTRATES' COURT
RETFORD MAGISTRATES' COURT
COALVILLE MAGISTRATES' COURT
MARKET HARBOROUGH MAGISTRATES' COURT
MELTON MOWBRAY MAGISTRATES' COURT
SPALDING MAGISTRATES' COURT
TOWCESTER MAGISTRATES' COURT
DAVENTRY MAGISTRATES' COURT
RUTLAND MAGISTRATES' COURT
KETTERING MAGISTRATES' COURT
GUISBOROUGH MAGISTRATES' COURT
BISHOP AUCKLAND MAGISTRATES' COURT
TYNEDALE MAGISTRATES' COURT
ALNWICK MAGISTRATES' COURT
BLAYDON MAGISTRATES' COURT
GOSFORTH MAGISTRATES' COURT
HOUGHTON LE SPRING MAGISTRATES' COURT
GOOLE MAGISTRATES' COURT
SKIPTON MAGISTRATES' COURT
SELBY MAGISTRATES' COURT
BATLEY AND DEWSBURY MAGISTRATES' COURT
KEIGHLEY MAGISTRATES' COURT SITTING AT THE BINGLEY COURT HOUSE
PONTEFRACT MAGISTRATES' COURT
ACTON MAGISTRATES' COURT
HARINGEY MAGISTRATES' COURT (Highgate)
HARROW MAGISTRATES' COURT
SUTTON MAGISTRATES' COURT
BARKING MAGISTRATES' COURT
BRENTFORD MAGISTRATES' COURT
KINGSTON MAGISTRATES' COURT
WOOLWICH MAGISTRATES' COURT
BALHAM YOUTH COURT
WALTHAM FOREST MAGISTRATES' COURT
TOWER BRIDGE MAGISTRATES' COURT
CHEPSTOW COUNTY COURT
ABERDARE COUNTY COURT
LLANGEFNI COUNTY COURT
RHYL COUNTY COURT
PONTYPOOL COUNTY COURT
NORTHWICH COUNTY COURT
SOUTHPORT COUNTY COURT
PENRITH COUNTY COURT
RUNCORN COUNTY COURT
WHITEHAVEN COUNTY COURT
RAWTENSTALL COUNTY COURT
CHORLEY COUNTY COURT
SALFORD COUNTY COURT
BURY COUNTY COURT
ASHFORD COUNTY COURT
GRAVESEND COUNTY COURT
HAYWARDS HEATH COUNTY COURT
EPSOM COUNTY COURT
HUNTINGDON COUNTY COURT
HARLOW COUNTY COURT
LOWESTOFT COUNTY COURT
NEWBURY COUNTY COURT
HITCHIN COUNTY COURT
CHELTENHAM COUNTY COURT
PENZANCE COUNTY COURT
TROWBRIDGE COUNTY COURT
POOLE COUNTY COURT
RUGBY COUNTY COURT
STOURBRIDGE COUNTY COURT
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON COUNTY COURT
NEWARK COUNTY COURT
WORKSOP COUNTY COURT
MELTON MOWBRAY COUNTY COURT
WELLINGBOROUGH COUNTY COURT
GRANTHAM COUNTY COURT
SKEGNESS COUNTY COURT
TAMWORTH COUNTY COURT
OSWESTRY COUNTY COURT
LUDLOW COUNTY COURT
SHREWSBURY COUNTY COURT
EVESHAM COUNTY COURT
REDDITCH COUNTY COURT
BURTON-UPON-TRENT COUNTY COURT
KIDDERMINSTER COUNTY COURT
BISHOP AUCKLAND COUNTY COURT
CONSETT COUNTY COURT
BARNSLEY COUNTY COURT
GOOLE COUNTY COURT
SKIPTON COUNTY COURT
PONTEFRACT COUNTY COURT
KEIGHLEY COUNTY COURT
DEWSBURY COUNTY COURT
ILFORD COUNTY COURT
MAYOR'S AND CITY COURT

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