Justice Secretary announces seven court closures in cost-cutting exercise

Seven courts in England will be closed to save cash, the Justice Secretary has announced.

Plans to shut down Cambridge Magistrates’ Court were withdrawn after a public consultation.

But Banbury Magistrates’ and County Court, magistrates’ courts in Maidenhead, Chorley, Fleetwood, and Northallerton, Wandsworth County Court and Blackfriars Crown Court (pictured) will all be axed.

Labour accused David Gauke of “slipping out the decision” on the last day of the parliamentary session among a deluge of government announcements.

In a tweet, the party’s Commons Whips team said the Justice Secretary was “hiding from scrutiny”.

More than 700 responses to consultations on the closure plans were received.

Mr Gauke said the proposals for the closure of the Cambridge court had received the largest number of responses.

Despite the court having excess capacity, closure would not be value for money, he said.

Mr Gauke said: “All money raised from the sale of these buildings will be reinvested into the justice system, and we want to reassure communities that those affected by closures will have access to alternative courts.

“We must ensure we use public money effectively and make decisions in the best interest of the wider justice system.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Yui Mok / PA Wire.