HM Court Service

Constitutional Affairs written question – answered on 13th February 2006.

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Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Labour, Chorley

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on how the principle of local magistrates sitting on local courts will be sustained under the proposals to merge the proposed merger of the three local justice areas of Chorley, Ormskirk and South Ribble.

Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Minister of State (Department of Constitutional Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The consultation paper seeks views on the proposal to combine the local justice areas referred to above and it is expected that, if the proposal goes ahead, local magistrates will be based at a local courthouse in which matters affecting the local community are likely to be heard and will sit there for the majority of their time. It seeks to assure consultees that no courthouse closures are planned. Existing magistrates will be invited and any new magistrates appointed to the combined area will be expected to sit elsewhere in the South West Lancashire area from their base court, subject to the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995, to enable the development of a more responsive and flexible service to the communities that the courts serve.

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