This really is bad news for a family court system that is already struggling to cope with so many more people attending court without lawyers due to the legal aid cuts.
Many do not agree that the courts selected for closure are underused. Certainly our local Magistrates Court is always extremely busy because the County Courts now to try allocate the simpler family cases to the Magistrates Court to deal with.
To add to lawyers frustration, the new system of filing divorce proceedings in Bury St Edmonds is failing. We are told that they currently have a 4 week backlog (which is increasing) and as you can imagine our clients are not very impressed with that!
We feel that the Governments cost cutting decisions have gone a step too far.
More than 120 courts and tribunals across England and Wales could close, relocate or amalgamate under an economy drive proposed by the Ministry of Justice. The programme is aimed at saving money by closing down underused courtrooms, exploiting video conferencing and transforming some preliminary hearings into online exchanges. The closures were anticipated by the new justice secretary, Michael Gove, in his first appearance before the justice select committee on Wednesday, but the extent of the changes may be larger than many expected.