ROUGH JUSTICE AS COURTS SHUT
Long trip awaits those in legal disputes
Anglesey and Gwynedd hit hard:
FIGURES across the island have slammed a decision by the UK Government to shut both of Anglesey’s remaining courts.
Thursday afternoon saw publication of a report by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) announcing the closures in a bid to make savings.
As a result both Holyhead Magistrates and Llangefni Civil and Family Court are set to close later this year.
Other closures across North Wales include Dolgellau Crown and Magistrates Court, Wrexham’s Tribunal and Hearing Centre and the downgrade of Prestatyn Magistrates Court to a civil, family and tribunal court.
The proposals for closure, first proposed last year, attracted firece criticism that justice was being taken further away from the people. Anglesey’s councillors also unanimously passed a motion last year, urging the Government to keep both courts open.
In response, the HMCTS says it is trying to establish ‘alternative provision’ for legal services, although it is unclear what this would entail.
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 sit for less than half the time available.
“Closing these poor quality buildings will raise £40m to reinvest in the justice system, and save hard-working taxpayers £27m a year. The decision to close a court is never taken lightly, but in the digital age I’m confident we have measures in place to ensure access to justice is not diminished.”
But opposition parties have slammed the decision.
Labour MP Albert Owen was critical of plans to close both remaining courts on the island: “The Government simply has not listened and is closing local services by stealth.
“This is a devastating blow for Anglesey. The only alternative is Caernarfon Crown court and for residents from north Anglesey or Holyhead, this expectation is unacceptable.
“It will mean many people, heavily dependent on intermittent public transport facing expensive and extended travelling.”
Plaid’s Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (pictured) added: “I’m bitterly, bitterly disappointed with the decision to leave Anglesey with no court provision at all. “The case had been made very strongly to keep Holyhead and Llangefni courts, and Plaid Cymru’s councillors and MPs have also argued strongly against closure.
“We will seek every possible means to try to overturn this.”
Llangefni Civil and Family Court and inset above Holyhead Magistrates’ Court are both set to close