Calderdale Magistrates and County Courts earmarked for closure

Calderdale Magistrates Court.
Calderdale Magistrates Court.
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The magistrates courts in Calderdale and Halifax County Court are to close if Government proposals go ahead.

The two courts are included on a list of dozens of courts nationally which the Ministry of Justice could axe.

A public consultation on the proposals has begun and will run until October 8.

Courts and Tribunals Minister, Shailesh Vara, said: “We are reforming the courts and tribunal service so that it meets the needs of modern day users.

“Access to justice is not just about attending court. As we bring in digital technology for better and more efficient access to justice, fewer people will need to physically be in a court. This means that we will need fewer buildings, and with many already underused and in poor quality, now is a good time to review the estate.”

It is proposed that the Halifax County and Family Court closes and its work is transferred to Bradford County Court at Bradford Combined Court Centre.

The report says ‘the facilities at Halifax are sub-standard and out of date for staff, judiciary and all court users. Some enabling works would have to be carried out to accommodate the staff and judiciary including an additional multi-purpose hearing room.’

During the 2014/15 financial year, operating costs at Halifax County Court and Family Court were approximately £115,000.

The report also said some members of the public experience access issues at Calderdale Magistrates in part of the building as there are some building constraints due to its listed status. Operations would also be transferred to Bradford Magistrates’ Court.

During the 2014/15 financial year, operating costs at Calderdale Magistrates’ Court and Family Court were approximately £380,000.

Natalie Ceeney, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service Chief Executive, commented on the Ministry of Justice consultation: “Our estate is a significant asset. We currently have a number of surplus buildings and this consultation puts forward proposals on their future.

“As we modernise our service so that fewer people will need to attend a court in person, spending money on unsuitable or rarely used buildings is not good value for money for taxpayers.

“I encourage anyone with an interest to respond to the proposals”.

The consultation covers the proposed closure of 57 magistrates’ courts, 19 county courts, two crown courts, four tribunal hearing centres and nine combined courts.

Should we be campaigning to keep our courts in Halifax? What do you think of the closures?

Email your views and letters to newsdesk@halifaxcourier.co.uk