Friday, 16 September 2016

Hammersmith Magistrates Court to Close

Hammersmith Magistrates Court
The Ministry of Justice announced yesterday that Hammersmith Magistrates Court is to be closed.

This latest closure follows on from last year's closure of Hammersmith County Court.

Anyone who needs access to the Law Courts will now have to travel outside our Borough.

This closure forms part of a pattern of reduced local services - such as the closure of the public counter at our local police station on the Uxbridge Road.

Governments like to talk about decentralisation, and increasing local control, but somehow the drive towards ever-greater centralisation always seems to continue.

Of course, for most of us, not having a local Magistrate's court won't be a big problem - who uses the courts anyway? But for anyone whose life gets snarled up in the legal system, having to travel outside the Borough will be an added burden.  Local services are good for communities.

Local MP Andy Slaughter had this to say:

"The Ministry of Justice has sought to bury the announcement of the closure of Hammersmith and Camberwell Green Magistrates Courts by announcing it on the last day of Parliament before recess. I am very concerned by this announcement, particularly as it follows the closure of the Hammersmith County Court this summer. We were told that the County Court was closed partly to increase capacity at the Magistrates Court, however this was clearly not the case.  It is now apparent that this was yet another cost-cutting exercise by the MoJ, which further reduces access to justice. 

The closure of Hammersmith Magistrates Court means there will be no court service in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. This will increase the travel and waiting times for users who will now have to travel to Magistrates Courts on the other side of London, something that is particularly troubling for those on modest means and those with reduced mobility. 

I raised my objections to the closures in the House of Commons today, and will be seeking a meeting with the Minister and a debate about this issue once Parliament returns from recess. I would also strongly encourage people to respond to the MoJ’s consultation on court closures by 27 October."

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