New Plans To Merge Magistrates Courts in Ely and Cambridge

THE Government has unveiled plans that could see the East Cambridgeshire magistrates bench merged with their colleagues in Cambridge to create a single justice authority for the region. The plans, which were put out to public consultation in January, wou

THE Government has unveiled plans that could see the East Cambridgeshire magistrates' bench merged with their colleagues in Cambridge to create a single justice authority for the region.

The plans, which were put out to public consultation in January, would create a single authority known as the South Cambridgeshire Bench and could see cases from Cambridge tried in the Ely courthouse and vice-versa.

The move, which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Justice, is designed to spread the workload of criminal cases in the county with officials concerned with the lack of cases being heard at Ely Magistrates Court.

If the plans go-ahead, magistrates will be asked to sit in both courts allowing them to hear a range of cases, while helping to clear any backlog of cases waiting to be heard.

Though the plans would produce a small saving for the Government, officials have insisted that there would be no job losses as a result of the plans.

Ely Magistrates Court was threatened with closure in 2008 until it was revealed in the Ely Standard that the Ministry of Justice had failed to follow the correct procedure for closing the court and subsequently handed it a reprieve.

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To have your say about the proposals visit www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk. The consultation closes on April 15 with a decision expected in August.

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