HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 cc98-9W
Simon Hughes

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department which magistrates courts in England and Wales closed in each year since 1992; what plans there are for future closures; and if he will make a statement. [21644]

Mr. Wills

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the noble Lord Phillips of Sudbury by my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor on 12 November 2001,Official Report, House of Lords, column WA49. Since that answer we have subsequently been advised that Gravesend courthouse in Kent closed on 9 June 2000. This information was not available at the time the answer was given.

I am aware that 11 magistrates courts committees are currently considering courthouse closures. These are Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Surrey, Durham, North Yorkshire, Thames Valley, Greater Manchester, West Mercia, West Midlands, the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority and Staffordshire.

Magistrates courts committees are not statutorily required to inform the Lord Chancellor's Department of proposed courthouse closures which are not subject to an appeal by its paying authority or authorities.

It is the Government's policy that decisions concerning the number, location and future of magistrates courts are for each magistrates courts committee to determine, in consultation with its local paying authority or authorities.