Proposed magistrates’ courts merger could see Huntingdonshire residents forced to travel to Cambridge or Peterborough

08:55 01 July 2014

A consultation about the scheme to combine the three justice areas has been launched.

A consultation about the scheme to combine the three justice areas has been launched.

Archant

Changes to the magistrates’ courts could lead to Huntingdonshire residents having to travel to Cambridge or Peterborough for hearings.

Currently Cambridgeshire is split into three local justice areas (LJA) – Huntingdonshire, South Cambridgeshire and North Cambridgeshire – sitting at courts in Huntingdon, Cambridge and Peterborough.

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service is proposing to merge the three areas for “more efficient case handling”. A consultation has been launched by the Cambridgeshire and Essex Judicial Business Group (JBG), which is looking into the scheme.

The JBG says a falling criminal caseload is making it more difficult for the courts to make the best use of its resources and is hampering the experience of magistrates.

“The division of business within three LJAs in the county means that the work has to be organised, not according to efficiency and the needs of individual cases, but by the LJA boundaries. Falling caseload has exacerbated this trend,” the proposal says.

It also says that there is not enough work for the youth court in South Cambridgeshire to sit more frequently than fortnightly, which causes delays as cases cannot be adjourned for fewer than two weeks, even if less time is needed.

However the report adds that the merger should not be seen as a precursor to court closures – but it would allow further flexibility in rotas and improve competence of magistrates, giving them more experience of covering a variety of cases.

But it would also mean some magistrates and users – barristers, defendants and witnesses – will have to travel further to get to court, incurring more expense.

An HM Courts spokesman said: “The reasons for the merger is to improve the effective delivery of justice by improving flexibility in dealing with cases, to make better use of reduced resources; and to increase the opportunities for magistrates to retain experience and thus competence.

“It also looks to address the significant reduction in magistrates’ sittings with a falling criminal caseload and rising family caseload.”

The spokesman added that changes to listings, where users would have to travel to different courts, would be subject to a separate consultation.

INFORMATION: The consultation closes on July 8. For details email southeastrsu@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hunts Post visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hunts Post staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hunts Post account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 13:56
A man in his 60s was injured by falling bricks

A man was taken to hospital after a pile of bricks fell on his head in Godmanchester.

Yesterday, 12:35
Curlew Place, St Neots,

A man charged with murdering St Neots scientist Samantha Ho will stand trial next year.

Yesterday, 11:43
Josh Colbert crowned as UK plumber of the year 2015

After coming up against some strong competition a plumber from Huntingdon has been crowned the best in the UK.

Thu, 14:59
Huntingdonshire District Council.

The Wildlife Trust has won planning permission to create a new nature reserve stretching over hundreds of acres of former farmland near Holme.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hunts Post e-edition today E-edition