St Albans County Court closure confirmed

PUBLISHED: 17:05 11 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:05 11 February 2016

St Albans Crown and County Courts

St Albans Crown and County Courts

Archant

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

The county court is among a number of underused and poor quality court and tribunal buildings set for closure within the next two years.

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 set 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.

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.

Responding to the news, Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said: “We are disappointed that the government is pressing ahead with the closure of so many courts.

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

Consultation with trade unions on staffing impacts will take place over the coming months.

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