The Ministry of Justice has faced some of the biggest cuts to its budget under the current UK Government and previous Coalition Government. To meet these cuts, amongst other things, they decided to close a large number of local courts.
I have always campaigned against court closures because justice must be handed out in our communities. We should not be expected to travel huge distances to ensure that those who have done wrong face the law.
At the Justice Committee meeting this week we had a number of witnesses before us from organisations like the Magistrates Association, the Criminal Bar Association and the Criminal Law Committee of Birmingham Law Society. These are people with great experience of what court closures mean.
During my questioning I wanted to know if they have been consulted by the UK Government following the closures. As you can see the response is damning. Ignoring experts ensures that policy is bungled and mistakes are made. The Ministry of Justice must sit up and listen to the Select Committee evidence and take action to ensure access to courts and law is not further undermined.