Stafford Magistrates' Court to close under cuts

Stafford Magistrates' Court will close later this year along with 85 courthouses across the country in a cost-cutting move by the Government.

Stafford Magistrates' Court to close under cuts

The announcement was made after proposals to 'modernise' courts in England and do away with costly 'underused' buildings were put forward.

This will result in 86 of 460 courts and tribunal hearing centres will shut, which includes The Court House in South Walls.

Closures are said to start between October and December this year.

  • MORE: Court closures 'will widen inequalities'

Any cases carried out will be transferred to Cannock Magistrates' Court, Stafford Combined Court and the North Staffordshire Justice Centre.

Solicitor and leader of Stafford Borough Council, Patrick Farrington, said: "Stafford Magistrates has been open for a considerable period.

"I know for some time that there has been a reorganization of not just for criminal courts but for civil courts in this area.

"A lot of work that Stafford Magistrates has to do has been transferred out to Cannock and other places.

"It is on a prime site in the middle of Stafford. In terms of the loss of the building and the facilities, personally I would have preferred to keep them. I don't know what the plans for it's future use are."

These reforms being made by the government aim to reduce the £500 million annual cost of the courts estate.

Stafford Magistrates' police cells were removed from the court a number of years ago.

And this has influenced the nature of cases that are listed in the building.

Justice Minister, Shailesh Vara, said in a written statement: "Court closures are difficult decisions; local communities have strong allegiances to their local courts and I understand their concerns.

"But changes to the estate are vital if we are to modernise a system which everybody accepts is unwieldy, inefficient, slow, expensive to maintain and unduly bureaucratic."

Mr Farrington added: "This comes on the back of 86 closures across the country - five have been reprieved but that comes as a result of rationalization of the number of different courts.

"I don't know what the potential impact in terms of local job losses are, I would have thought it wouldn't be huge but anyone that does lose a job is in a position no-one wants to be in."

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