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MA Chair John Bache on court closures

MA in the media

03 February 2020
MA Chair John Bache on court closures

National Chair of the MA John Bache has had a letter published in The Times in respsonse to an article in the paper's series on 'Courts in Crisis' that highlighted that a third of courthouses have been closed in the last nine years. Half of all magistrates' courts in England and Wales have been closed since 2010, and with the majority of cases starting and ending in the magistrates' courts, the letter emphasises the importance of justice remaining genuinely accessible to all:

"Those of us working in the justice system have a responsibility to ensure that resources are used effectively and if courthouses are underused or outdated then we should always consider whether they are still required. However, with all cases starting in the magistrates’ courts and 90 per cent of criminal cases ending there, the closure of half of all magistrates’ courts since 2010 has left many courts worryingly remote from the communities that they serve. Wherever possible, justice must be administered locally and be physically accessible to victims, witnesses and defendants.

"The Ministry of Justice should plan no more court closures until the impact of the closures to date can be properly analysed and it can be ensured that the present justice system can adhere to the principle of justice being fair, visible and universally accessible. Justice must always trump efficiency."




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