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  • Rosie Cooper slams latest ‘hammer blow’ to local justice

    Henry James

    ROSIE Cooper has accused the Government and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service of “diluting” local justice following the announcement of another local magistrates court closure.

    The West Lancs MP hit out at the decision to close Chorley Magistrates Court, two years after the Ormskirk court closed its doors for the final time.

    She has repeatedly campaigned for justice to remain local, initially successfully seeing off the proposed closure of Ormskirk Magistrates in 2006 before the Government finally pulled the plug 10 years later.

    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Lucy Frazer wrote to Ms Cooper informing her of the decision to press ahead with the closure of Chorley Magistrates’ Court - despite the MP’s particular concerns, including travel time to court from West Lancashire, and in particular Skelmersdale where she deemed transport links inadequate.

    Preston Magistrates Court will now deal with cases which would have been heard at Chorley.

    Rosie Cooper said: “The decision to close Ormskirk Magistrates' Court in 2016 was simply the wrong decision and now we see HM Courts and Tribunals continuing on their mission to close local magistrates courts and dilute local justice.

    “We know there was a desire within the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts and Tribunals Service to make closures happen as far back as 2006 when they first tried to close Ormskirk.

    “These decisions save them money and make it easier for those running the courts. But they are not for the benefit of or in the interests of the residents who should have access to local justice.

    “One of the fundamental objections to this proposed closure was the poor availability of public transport to alternative courthouses. A situation that has only worsened given further Government cuts to local authority budgets forcing councils to consider the future of local bus services.

    “There is no question this decision is yet another hammer blow to the centuries-old principle of local justice.”

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