Due to the government wanting to save money, Warrington County Court will close. The Ministry of Justice has confirmed this.
The court’s workload will be moved to St Helens County Court, with Family Law cases being moved to the Liverpool Civil and Family Courts. This news comes less than five years after the Ministry of Justice spent £1.7 million on an overhaul of the St Helens Courthouse so that it can accommodate civil and criminal proceedings under the same roof.
Why is the court being closed?
The changes are being put in place to modernise the justice system. Many people who have experienced the justice system have found it to be a slow and sometimes inefficient process that can cause stress in an already difficult time of their lives. Closing Warrington County Court means that these cases can be moved somewhere that has the facilities to be able to keep up with the modern justice system.
When speaking to Wire FM, Minister of the Courts Shailesh Vara said:
“We have begun installing Wi-Fi and digital systems in our criminal courts but more needs to be done. As part of this modernisation, the court and tribunal estate has to be updated. Last year, 48% of all courts and tribunals were empty for at least half their available hearing time. These buildings are expensive to maintain yet unsuitable for modern technology.”
What effect will this have?
It is hoped that closing Warrington County Court will have a positive effect on the experience clients have when using the justice system.
However, Warrington Law Society has made calls to rethink the plans. Many people fear that the poorer people within the community will struggle to fund the extra travel costs, with some fearing that it may come to a choice between whether they can afford food or the extra bus to the court.