Newly appointed justice minister Lucy Frazer, MP for SE Cambs, announces possible closure of Cambridge magistrates' court
PUBLISHED: 14:58 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:06 18 January 2018
One of the first jobs of newly elected justice minister Lucy Frazer, the MP for SE Cambs, has been to announce the possible closure of Cambridge magistrates' court.
The possible closure was revealed in a written update released on behalf of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.
The consultation on closure of the Cambridge court – and seven others across the UK – will run for 10 weeks.
City council leader Lewis Herbert criticised the possible closure noting that “the then new 2008 Cambridge Magistrates Court cost us all over £18,000,000 when it was built less than ten years ago.
“Another reason not to close it, as well as the unfairness to people in the city, is the rising population nearby.,”
He said the workload of the court proposed for closure would be distributed to a combination of Cambridge County Court, Huntingdon Law Courts, Peterborough Magistrates’ Court and Cambridge Crown Court.”
“If closure goes ahead, it depends on the detail,” he said.
Ms Frazer said: “While consideration of the demands on the courts and tribunals estate in the context of reform is important, we also need to assess the existing estate to make sure it is efficient and offers value for money to taxpayers now,” she said.
“To this end, a key consideration in management of the estate is that we only operate buildings that we need, eliminating duplication and overlapping service provision, with the savings recycled back into the reform programme.”
She said it was part of long-term reforms that were “already delivering benefits by making access to justice quicker and easier whilst ensuring fairness.
“HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s £1 billion reform programme is ambitious, ensuring justice is accessible but proportionate and making use of the technology available in the modern world.
“It will provide modern IT and processes, and focused services to support those who require court services. It covers all jurisdictions and touches every aspect of the system, including making more effective use of its physical places, spaces and buildings.”