Courts in Hal­i­fax will be shut down

Halifax Courier - - Yourcourier - By ian hirst

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

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