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Court closures will inhibit access to justice: Law Society

Law Society publishes response to proposals to close 91 courts and tribunals

The Law Society has responded to a Ministry of Justice consultation on proposals to close 91 courts and tribunals, which is one fifth of courts and tribunals across England and Wales, and integrate or merge 31 more.
The response, says the Law Society, reflects solicitors' views on the likely adverse impact of the proposed closures on local communities, the justice system and the legal profession.

In summary, the concerns are:

Law Society President Jonathan Smithers commented:

"A majority of these proposed court closures will make it more difficult for a significant number people to get to court, and the closures will more adversely affect people living in rural areas, those with disabilities and lower income families.

"Combined with the further planned increases in court fees and reductions in eligibility for legal aid, many of the proposed closures will serve to deepen the inequalities in the justice system between those who can and cannot afford to pay.

"No matter who you are, no matter where you live, everyone in England and Wales must be able to access legal advice and the justice system."

The Law Society has produced an interactive map that shows the impact the proposed closures would have on local people, based on information from solicitors who serve their local communities.

The full response and interactive map can be accessed from this page.