Closure of St Albans County Court announced

St Albans Crown Court

St Albans Crown Court - Credit: Archant

The number of criminal cases heard at St Albans Crown Court are set to increase after it was recommended that county court services at the Bricket Road site be relocated to Watford.

Shailesh Vara, the Courts and Tribunals Minister, said today (Thursday) that the county court is among a number of underused and poor quality court and tribunal buildings recommended for closure, adding, “As we bring in digital technology for better and more efficient access to justice, fewer people will need to physically be in a court.”

Instead of using “underused and poorly maintained” court buildings, other civil buildings will be used to give evidence via video conference, according to a statement from the Courts and Tribunals Service.

Included in the lengthy list of courts recommended for closure are St Albans county court as well as Watford magistrates’ court and family court.

The county court deals with civil and bankruptcy work in St Albans. It is one of three county courts in Herts, and is co-located within the crown court.

In its proposal, the courts and tribunal service explained that during the 2014/15 financial year, the court was used for about 65 per cent of its capacity.

During a consultation period of 12 weeks, which ends on October 8, councillors and officials will review the recommendations.

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Anne Main, MP for St Albans, said: “I’ve just spoken to Shailesh Vara and he’s assured me that this will not make that much difference to the people of St Albans.

“I’ve got to listen to the experts and if they think we can streamline services in this way, then I’d have to agree with them.”

More details in next Thursday’s Herts Advertiser