By: 16 February 2016
South Yorkshire Resolution chair calls for court closure plans to be scrapped

Vanessa Fox, chair of the South Yorkshire branch of Resolution, has called on the Government to reverse its plans to close three courts in Rotherham.

The Ministry of Justice is shutting 86 courts across the country, including the Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court in Rotherham. As well the courts in Rotherham, the Government plans to shut a number of other courts in Yorkshire. Halifax County and Family Court, Wakefield Magistrates Court, Calderdale Magistrates Court, and Scunthorpe Magistrates Court are all set to be closed. The Government says that they are underused and that by reducing surplus capacity, it can invest more money into improving facilities in other courts.

Resolution – an organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce and separation and the peaceful settlement of other family problems – has said that the Government’s analysis is not thorough enough to justify the closure of courts in Rotherham.

Fox, a partner at hlw Keeble Hawson, claims that the court closure will have a huge impact on local families’ ability to access the justice system.

“This is devastating news for local families. Parents and children need to be able to access the justice system – this decision will make that more difficult,” she said.

“Closing Rotherham Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court may make sense on a Government spreadsheet, but here in South Yorkshire the reality is that it will have a big impact on local people who require family courts at a deeply emotional and difficult time in their life.

“The additional stress of travelling to a court in an unfamiliar town some distance away will subject people to a further unnecessary burden. That is why I’m calling on the Government to reverse their decision,” she added.