Chichester MP urges court closure decision to be reversed

Andrew Tyrie, MP for Chichester ENGSUS00120121217161741

Andrew Tyrie, MP for Chichester ENGSUS00120121217161741

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Andrew Tyrie has written to the parliamentary under-secretary of state to urge him to reverse the decision to close Chichester’s law courts.

The Chichester MP has again lambasted the decision to shut the city’s crown, county and magistrates’ courts a ‘shambles’, and called for MP Shailesh Vara to ‘provide a compelling economic case for the closures’ which he says is so far missing.

Green councillor Sarah Sharp is helping to organise a public protest outside Chichester's courts on Saturday, March 12. ks1600055-3 SUS-160103-183910008

Green councillor Sarah Sharp is helping to organise a public protest outside Chichester's courts on Saturday, March 12. ks1600055-3 SUS-160103-183910008

It follows the news that lawyers are considering challenging the decision by launching a judicial review http://www.chichester.co.uk/news/local/judicial-review-over-chichester-court-closures-could-be-called-1-7243955

In a letter to Shailesh Vara MP, dated March 1 and published here in full, Mr Tyrie wrote: “The Ministry of Justice’s response is not reasonable.

“Nor is it adequately explained. Frankly, it is a shambles, for at least two reasons.

“First, page 31 of the document says: “Given that Chichester Crown Court is being retained, HM Courts & Tribunals Service will identify alternative arrangements for dealing with county court and family court hearings or providing video links from Chichester Crown Court.”

The Chichester Combined Court Centre includes the Chichester Crown Court and the Chichester County and Family Court.

“If the Chichester Crown Court is to be retained, so must the County and Family Court.

“Will you confirm that the Chichester Crown Court, Chichester County Court and the Chichester Family Court will all be retained?

“Will you also confirm that the references on page 8, 30 and 34 of the proposal, which say that these courts will be closed, should be ignored?

“Second, in response to the proposals (proposal on the provision of court and tribunal services in the South East region), I ask for a compelling economic case for the closure of any of the courts - supported by evidence.

“This should include the Magistrates’ Court, which you now apparently intend to close.

“No economic evidence has been provided. This is wholly unacceptable.

“A lot of people are going to be badly affected by closure, even of the Magistrates’ Court.

“Many constituents will be forced to travel further, and at additional expense.

“They have yet to received a plausible explanation.

“In the light of the above, I strongly urge you to consider your decision. Andrew Tyrie.”

A public protest is set to be held outside Chichester’s courts on Saturday, March 12, and residents have been urged to come along to oppose the closures.

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