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Closure of both Halifax’s courts threatens access to justice

by jamesbaker on 13 February, 2016

Despite a campaign by both ourselves and the local Labour party the government has announced that both Halifax’s County Court and Family Court and its Magistrates’ and Family Court are set to close. 

Victims and witnesses will now have to travel to Bradford attend their nearest court or tribunal proceedings rather than going to their local magistrates’ court.

Liberal Democrats support any attempts to upgrade our legal system but this should be done while maintaining a high functioning and local justice system.

Local Liberal Democrat activist Ashley Evans said:

“Halifax Court has served our community well. Taken in the context of further cuts to local government budgets which will have a clear effect on the services residents expect, this court closure comes at the worst possible time. I urge the Government to think again and conduct a truly local impact assessment before ramming this through.”

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.”

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