Courts in Halifax will be shut down
Calderdale Magistrates’ and County Courts will be closed under Government proposals. The two courts were included on a list released in July 2015, of courts nationally which the Ministry of Justice were set to axe.
The announcement was met with fierce reaction from councillors and solicitors resulting in a campaign being started to save the courts.
During the consultation a total of 26 responses were received relating to Halifax County Court and Family Court closure and 24 responses related to Calderdale Magistrates’ and Family Court.
However, the decision was made to close the courts in Harrison Road and Prescott Street.
The leader of Calderdale Council, Councillor Tim Swift said: “I am very, very disappointed with this decision, we felt there was a much better option in combining the two courts in to the one existing building.
“It’s a massive disadvantage for Halifax and it’s going to make life harder for people using the court as the accused or as a witness. It’s going to make it much harder for ordinary people to access justice.
“We don’t think it will save any money, as they will have to spend money on the Bradford court.
“The council will be fighting this decision - I am very, very angry - they just don’t listen to local people.”
He added that the closure Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said: “Our courts and tribunal system is in need of urgent reform. “Maintaining our underused and dilapidated court buildings costs the taxpayer £500 million a year but some courts sit for less than half the time available. “This is simply unsustainable. goes against the Government’s rhetoric on the proposed ‘Northern Powerhouse’.
The operations will now be moved to Bradford Combined Court.
The court closures are expected to take place later this year, between October and December. Closing these courts in poor quality buildings will raise £40 million to re-invest in the justice system, and save hard-working taxpayers £27 million per year. “The decision to close a court is never taken lightly, but in the digital age I am confident we have measures in place to ensure access to justice is not diminished.”
Calderdale Magistrates Court and Halifax County Court, inset, will close later this year