‘A watershed moment for Chichester and West Sussex’.
That is how campaigners are describing this Saturday’s protests against the closure of Chichester’s law courts.
The city’s combined (crown and county) and magistrates’ courts are earmarked for closure, a move that will leave West Sussex without a crown court.
Lawyers will join councillors and members of the public in staging a public protest outside the courts this Saturday at 12 noon and people are being urged to come and show their support.
It has been organised by the Chichester and District Law Society and West Sussex Resolution.
“This is a watershed moment for Chichester and indeed West Sussex. If these closures go ahead, the concept of people in the Chichester district being able to access justice locally will disappear,” said Edward Cooke, a Chichester lawyer and vice chairman of West Sussex Resolution.
“In many cases, we fear that this will lead to a situation where many who cannot easily reach court will simply not get justice.”
Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie is supporting the protest, and has spoken out strongly against the closures, which are part of 86 courts to go across England and Wales.
If the closures go ahead, crown cases are likely to go to Lewes, while magistrates’, family and civil cases will be heard in Worthing or Brighton.
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