‘Confidence in justice plummets’ over court closures, ministers warned

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Hundreds of constituencies are now without a court – including that of the Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who represents Esher and Walton in Surrey.

Mark Fenhalls QC, chairman of the Bar Council, said: “The closures mean that people must travel further, and waiting lists have grown. If people cannot access justice quickly and efficiently, the public will lose confidence that the law will help them resolve family, property, and financial disputes.”

The Bar Council’s research revealed 43 percent of courts in England and Wales closed in the past 12 years. The highest rate was in Wales, where 58 percent of criminal courts were shut.

The lowest was in Yorkshire and the Humber, with 32 percent closing. Criminal barristers are due to be balloted this week for potential action amid concerns over legal aid funding and workload. The Ministry of Justice said: “All closed sites were shut because they were under-used, due to maintenance work or too close to another.

“Our £1.3billion investment to modernise courts means access to justice is no longer solely reliant on going to a building, with thousands now using services or going to hearings online.

“The crown court backlog has fallen and we are giving criminal barristers a £7,000 pay rise.”

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