Local MEP Jonathan Arnott has reacted angrily to the planned closure of Hartlepool and Consett magistrates’ courts.
Following today”s announcement about the closure of the courts Mr Arnott said the principle of magistrates’ courts is that justice should be local.
“Closing down magistrates’ courts runs totally contrary to that principle and it will necessitate witnesses and victims having to travel much further and at greater expense to attend hearings.
“Justice should be seen to be done in the local community by local magistrates but year after year the justice system is being eroded.
“And this is happening while crime has gone up 22% in the Cleveland authority area. Closing down this court is sending out completely the wrong message. It is all very well the Justice Minister saying access to justice “is not diminished” but the reality is it will be,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.
“Hartlepool’s county court is also to close as is Morpeth’s and that will also cause inconvenience all round. Local people have expressed their disagreement with the proposals but these courts are to be closed down along with 83 others up and down the country,” he added.