Lowestoft’s Magistrates Court closure

11th February 2016

On 11th February, Shailesh Vara MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice announced the closure of Lowestoft Magistrates Court.

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, has expressed his disappointment with the announcement by the Ministry of Justice that Lowestoft Magistrates Court is to close.

Mr Aldous commented: “I believe that this is the wrong decision, taking into account the compelling evidence based case made by local court users for the court to remain open. With the current emphasis on localisation and devolution their views should have been accepted and I am concerned that the closure will compromise access to local justice for the most vulnerable in society.

“I have spoken to Minister Shailesh Vara and have advised him of my views. He has informed me that it is difficult to justify keeping the Court open due to the fact that it is currently utilised for only 26% of the time that it is available; 1 day in 4.

“He has also highlighted the Government’s plans for reforming the justice system, including reducing the need for people to travel to court, reserving face to face hearings for only the most complex and sensitive cases.

“For those involved in these cases getting to court could now prove very difficult and expensive whether the court is in Ipswich, Norwich or even in some cases Chelmsford.

“I have thus agreed with the Minister that I will explore with officials from the Ministry of Justice, local court users and Waveney District Council whether the council offices can be used for hearing these complex and sensitive cases where face to face contact is so vitally important to the fair delivery of justice. I shall be starting these discussions next week.”

| Click here to download letter from Shailesh Vara MP

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