William Eichler 19 October 2015

Local councils warn court closures will have a negative impact on access to justice

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has demanded that the Government puts a halt to its plan to close and integrate local courts and tribunals across England and Wales.

NALC claims the closure of dozens of local courts will leave justice gaps in market towns as large as, for example, Shrewsbury or Taunton.

It warns this will leave communities without local access to justice.

NALC says it understands the Government wants to bring quicker and fairer access to justice and create a justice system that reflects the way people use services today.

But it does not believe this can be achieved by closing nearly a hundred local courts.

The closures will, NALC claims, make it more difficult for those in rural areas to access justice. 71% of parish councils are in rural locations and it is here that will be most affected.

Cllr Ken Browse, chairman of NALC, said: ‘The National Association and our member councils know that court closures are coming. Whilst we accept that there is scope for efficiencies in the system, our prime concern is about the potential loss of community access to justice and the lack of local administration of the law.’

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