The Government has confirmed that the Magistrates Court in Bury is to close, alongside a large number of other courts across the country.
In the North West the following courts will be closing:
Accrington County Court
Accrington Magistrates’ Court
Bolton County Court and Family Court
Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court
Kendal Magistrates’ Court and County Court
Macclesfield County Court
Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court
Oldham County Court
Oldham Magistrates’ Court
Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court and Family Court
Runcorn (Halton) Magistrates’ Court
Tameside County Court Closing
Trafford Magistrates’ Court and Altrincham County Court
Warrington County Court
Liberal Democrats have warned the closure of so many local courts threatens to undermine access to justice for local people. Victims and witnesses will have to travel, sometimes a significant distance, to attend their nearest court or tribunal proceedings rather than going to their local magistrates’ court.
We support any attempts to upgrade our legal system but this should be done while maintaining a high functioning and local justice system.
In Bury we were strong supporters of the all-party council motion and camapaign to save the court in Bury during the Government’s consultation period, and it is a shame the Government has not listened to local people.
Liberal Democrats Justice Spokesperson Jonathan Marks QC said:
“Publishing the Government’s response to the consultation on court closures as Parliament rises for recess is a sneaky move to prevent debate on an issue fundamental to British justice.
“The closure of courts, particularly in rural areas, threatens access to local justice. There are clear savings to be made in the Court system, but simply shutting courts at the expense of the communities they serve is not the right approach.
“Courts should only be closed where it can be demonstrated that local communities will not lose out. Greater efficiency cannot always be achieved by a ‘digital by default’ approach.”