Government Plans to Close More than 100 Courts to Save Money
As per the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies report, the Government is planning to close over 100 courts, which could hamper an ‘open and fair’ justice in England and Wales.
It is estimated that as many as 103 magistrates' courts will stop functioning in the coming times, which would force the courts to divert many cases out of the courts system or speed up their process by sending them to the Crown Court.
The Centre has asked the Government to avoid ‘blindly walking towards justice delivered by officials’.
The report also mentioned that the number of defendants proceeded against in the magistrates' courts has declined by 16% in the past 10 years.
The CCJS mentions that the number of cases handled by magistrates’ court is at present 1.64 million per year, which is significantly down since the year 1998, when the total number of cases were around 1.95 million.
The Center said that the decline raises questions about the competency of magistrates' courts' justice.
Only 53% criminal cases are handled by the magistrates' courts and the rest being dealt with by fines, cautions, or offences 'taken into consideration'.
The statistics show in the last three years, the staff has reduced by 12% and the spending on the criminal courts has increased to over a billion pounds.