HC Deb 23 March 1999 vol 328 c134W
39. Mr. Fabricant

To ask the Minister of State, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will visit Lichfield to meet the Lichfield Magistrates Bench to discuss the dispensing of justice in Lichfield; and if he will make a statement. [76346]

Mr. Hoon

I am always willing to consider any invitation to meet magistrates.

Magistrates courts are locally managed by magistrates courts committees under the provisions of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997. It is for each Magistrates Courts Committee to decide how best to deploy its resources in order to carry out its statutory responsibility to provide an efficient and effective service to court users. Decisions concerning the future and number of magistrates courts in their area are for the relevant MCC to determine. A local authority that contributes financially may appeal to the Lord Chancellor against a proposed closure. The procedure for such appeals is set out in section 56 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997. In the absence of an appeal, however, the Lord Chancellor plays no part in the process.