Chichester lawyer speaks out over proposed court closures

Chichester Crown Court, currently situated a few minutes' walk from Chichester Police Station ''PICTURE BY LOUISE ADAMS C140033-1
Chichester Crown Court, currently situated a few minutes' walk from Chichester Police Station ''PICTURE BY LOUISE ADAMS C140033-1

THE COURT system is in danger of losing its mantra of ‘local justice for local people’, a lawyer has warned.

James Brotherton, senior partner at Wannops LLP, the Sussex and Hampshire-based solicitors, spoke out against the proposed closures of Chichester’s crown, county and magistrates’ courts.

The government announced a public consultation a week ago to close 91 courts and tribunals across England and Wales. All Chichester’s court houses are included in the proposals.

“The reaction for me personally is that after 20 years in Chichester I’ve seen all the local courts close, from Arundel to Steyning etc and I’ve always been part of ‘local justice for local people’ being the mantra for the court system,” said Mr Brotherton.

“We seem to be throwing all that away just for the money.

“I think that’s a terrible shame.”

He said people in surrounding areas, such as Selsey, could find it harder to get to court if the proposed closures went ahead.

Mr Brotherton confirmed there had been rumours for nearly a decade steps would be taken at some stage to close Chichester’s court houses.

“It’s been on the cards since 2005. There have been rumours for an awfully long time of changes to come and now they’re apparently coming.”

He said he hoped serious consideration was given by the government to the implications of closing the Chichester courts.

For more information about the public consultation, call 01612 405021 or email estatesconsultation@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk Alternatively, visit consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/proposal-on-the-provision-of-court-and-tribunal-es

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