Thursday, February 11, 2016

Resolution condemns government court closure plan

Family law organisation Resolution has condemned today’s announcement by Government to close 86 courts across England and Wales.

The Ministry of Justice claims the courts that will close are “underused” and that by reducing “surplus capacity” it can invest more money into improving facilities elsewhere.

But members of family law organisation Resolution criticised the decision, claiming the Government’s analysis is not thorough enough to justify closures on this scale. Resolution says the court closures will have a huge impact on many families’ ability to access the justice system.

Jo Edwards, National Chair of Resolution said:

“This is devastating news for thousands of separating families. Parents and children need to be able to access the justice system. That is why it’s disappointing to see the Ministry of Justice closing so many family courts across the country.

“Those affected the most by these closures will be vulnerable people such as victims of domestic abuse, young people and those who rely on public transport to get around.

“Resolution members, and many other organisations, have presented the Government with local expertise and local knowledge which shows that their assessment of the true impact on people using the courts is patchy at best. For example, they haven’t presented any analysis of the impact on remaining courts.

“Instead of this simplistic, ill-thought through exercise, Ministers should be coming forward with detailed plans for modernising family courts. While we welcome the additional investment in remaining courts that the government has promised, this work needs to be done as a matter of urgency if the impact of these closures is to be mitigated.

“Unfortunately, parents and children will now be faced with closures at a time when the system is already struggling due to a devastating combination of funding cuts, fewer judges and an increase in the number of people representing themselves in the family court.”

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