Access to local justice is at the heart of our justice system. But the government’s relentless cuts and reforms are a threat to access to justice.
The Government has announced plans to close 86 more courts and tribunals in England and Wales. These closures will make it even more difficult for many victims of crime, their families and witnesses to get to court in order for justice to be delivered – and they come on top of the closure of 139 courts in the last parliament.
Last year the government made great fanfare of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta – but these programmes of court closures undermine access to local justice. The closures are driven by a political choice to cut public spending, and not by any desire to improve access to justice. Many courts set for closure have better facilities for court users than the ones they are being proposed to be moved to.
The closures put jobs at risk, and from past experience are wasting public money. Taxpayers are currently forking out over £40,000 every month to cover the costs of maintaining and securing 15 court buildings which were closed in the last round of closures, but remain unsold – making a mockery of the government’s so-called efficiency drive.