A number of magistrates and county courts across Greater Manchester have been earmarked for closure. Back in July, the Ministry of Justice produced a consultation document which recommended the closure of 14 court buildings in the North West – one of these being Stockport Courthouse, home to Stockport Magistrates and County Court.

The local Courts in Stockport and Greater Manchester provide a valuable service to all court users and who have supported their communities for many years. The closure of local courts doesn’t sit easier with providing access to justice for all.

The plans would see cases currently handled at Stockport Courthouse transferred to Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court and Manchester County Court based in the city centre. With the extra burden of the work coming in from the smaller local courts, of which Stockport is one of the busiest Courts, the added pressure on Manchester is a concern.

More importantly all local Courts, serve their communities and often the most disadvantaged within them.  Transferring that facility away from the people who use seems to conflict entirely with the principle of access to justice for all.

The Government are laudably aiming to save money with these closures, but in the long run I would be concerned that it could end up costing money with extra delays, cancelled hearings and difficulties in people attending Court.

A public petition has started which can only be signed before the consultation period closes on Thursday 8th October.

You can respond to the consultation by the following methods:

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