The Ministry of Justice has today announced its decision to keep open the threatened St Helens County Court whilst opting to close the local Magistrates’ Court.
The St Helens County Court is one of five courts spared closure amongst the 91 courts considered in the government consultation. Following today’s announcement, 86 courts across England and Wales will be closed in the next two years.
Other courts included in the consultation but remaining open include Stockport, West Cumbria, Bath and Carmarthen.
Joanne Ellis, Partner, Stephensons said: “We are pleased to hear that the Ministry of Justice has listened to some of the concerns of local people as well as legal professionals in allowing St Helens County Court to remain open.
“Although we will be seeing the closure of the local Magistrates’ Court, Stephensons will remain dedicated to working with the local communities in St Helens and the surrounding areas, to ensure everyone has access to justice”.
The consultation on the potential court closures in England and Wales, which began last July, prompted more than 2,100 responses, along with 13 petitions containing more than 10,000 signatures.
Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said: “Court closures are difficult decisions; local communities have strong allegiances to their local courts and I understand their concerns.
“But changes to the estate are vital if we are to modernise a system which everybody accepts is unwieldy, inefficient, slow, expensive to maintain and unduly bureaucratic.”