Courts: Closures

House of Lords written question – answered on 22nd January 2013.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have reviewed the outcome of recent magistrates' court and county court closures, with particular reference to the impact in each category on the attendance of parties and witnesses and on the need to adjourn cases.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords

In December 2010 Ministers announced the decision to close 142 courts; 93 magistrates' courts and 49 county courts. This followed a full 12-week public consultation from June 2010 until September 2010.

To date 130 courts have closed: 84 magistrates' courts and 46 county courts. The remaining 12 will all be close by September 2014. The total cumulative gross benefits are expected to be £99.2 million over the SR10 period, consisting of resource savings from court closures of £60.6 million and gross capital proceeds of £38.6 million from the sale of buildings.

From April 2011 to March 2012, 17.5% of magistrates' court trials were ineffective, of which 6.1% relate to non-attendance of parties. From April 2012 to September 2012, 16.8% of magistrates' court trials were ineffective, of which 5.8% relate to the non-attendance of parties.

HMCTS does not collect statistics on the non-attendance of parties in county court cases.

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