The voice of the Judiciary

Few will deny the value of the work conducted by magistrates courts and county courts, but clearly some are under used and may face closure.

Few will deny the value of the work conducted by magistrates courts and county courts, but clearly some are under used and may face closure.


The courts have not escaped the attention of the coalition government. It was back in June when Kenneth Clarke the Justice Secretary said that the government would be consulting on the closure of 103 magistrate courts and 54 County Courts in England and Wales.


The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, through his spokesperson Lord Justice Goldring, has now set out his findings following the consultation on court services. Lord Justice Goldring, as the senior presiding judge for England and Wales, oversees the work of presiding judges in each circuit in England and Wales. Most of you will be familiar with the value of the work carried out by local courts including the magistrate courts. Some 97% of all criminal cases are dealt with by the magistrate courts, however even the courts must play their part in these difficult financial times and the review has identified under used courts.


It is thought that the court closures will save the government something in the region of £15 million per year in running costs and a further £22 million in maintenance of the buildings.


Some of you will recall that it is the job of the Lord Chief Justice, the country's most senior judge, to act as the judiciaries' chief spokesman and this is an example of one of his duties.

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