WALESONLINE: MP says proposal to close town’s historic magistrates’ court could have serious impact on local justice

The Labour MP for Pontypridd has said the proposal to close the local magistrates’ court could have a serious impact on justice in the area.

Owen Smith MP has opposed the proposal to close Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court which comes as part of Ministry of Justice plans to close 10 court buildings and a tribunal hearing centre in Wal

There are currently 42 buildings forming the courts and tribunals estate in Wales.

In total, the government revealed they were consulting on closing a combined 91 courts and tribunal centres in England and Wales.

Consultation opened

The aim is to reduce what Justice Secretary Michael Gove has described as “surplus capacity”.

A consultation opened on Thursday over the proposal, which comes in the wake of anger over a first wave of magistrate and county court closures in 2011.

Owen Smith MP, who has held the south Wales seat since 2010, said: “I will be seeking to meet with Michael Gove in the coming weeks to explain to him how damaging it will be to local justice if our historic magistrates’ court were to close.

“The Tories clearly do not understand how important it is that local people have access to justice within their community, nor how difficult it will be for many local people if they have to travel long distances to access legal services.

“We will be fighting this all the way.”

The other buildings in Wales earmarked for closure include Brecon Law Courts, Bridgend Law Courts, Carmarthen Civil, Family, Tribunal and Probate Hearing Centre, Carmarthen Law Courts (The Guildhall), Dolgellau Crown and Magistrates’ Court, Holyhead Magistrates’ Court, Llangefni Civil and Family Court, Neath and Port Talbot Civil and Family Court, Prestatyn Magistrates’ Court and Wrexham Tribunal and Hearing Centre (Rhyd Broughton).

The consultation, which closes in October, is available at www.gov.uk/moj

WalesOnline story available here: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/mp-says-proposal-close-towns-9679161



Owen Smith MP Welsh Labour MP for Pontypridd
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