Courts: Closures

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 2nd December 2015.

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Photo of David Anderson David Anderson Labour, Blaydon

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect of proposed courts and tribunal closures on (a) staff with caring responsibilities, (b) disabled staff, (c) black and minority ethnic staff and (d) court users.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The staff impact of these proposals will be managed using the department’s Managing Organisational Change Framework which has been endorsed by the Departmental Trade Unions. This will make sure that the transition to new arrangements proceeds in a fair and transparent manner for all staff.

In an increasingly digital age, court users will not always need to attend hearings in person in order to access the justice system and whilst we have already established alternative ways users can interact with our services, we are looking to expand these provisions to provide more choice than is currently available.

In order to achieve these aims, we have secured over £700m of funding to invest in our courts and tribunals. We have worked closely with the senior judiciary to develop a plan for investing this in reforming the courts and tribunals so they can deliver swifter, fairer justice at a lower cost. This will include digitisation and modernisation of our IT infrastructure. This will mean court users can attend hearings remotely, and not be inconvenienced by having to take a day off work to come to court. It will also mean victims of crime can give evidence from somewhere they feel safe.

A full impact assessment will be published alongside the consultation response.

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