Report says Grantham Court to close by the end of June

Crime and court news.
Crime and court news.

Grantham Magistrates Court will close by the end of June according to reports from the Ministry of Justice.

The Grantham court was one of 91 courts under threat of closure by the government when the proposal went to consultation last year.

Skegness court is also reported to be closing by the end of September. That leaves only two magistrates courts in the whole of Lincolnshire - Lincoln and Boston.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice Shailesh Vara said today: “Having considered carefully all responses to the consultation, we have decided to close 86 of the 91 courts and tribunals. Sixty-four sites will close as proposed in the consultation. A further 22 closures will take place but with changes to the original proposals. These changes, many suggested by respondents, include the identification of suitable alternative venues, such as local civic buildings; or different venues in the HMCTS estate to those originally proposed. I am very grateful to all those who engaged with the consultation to help us to reach the best solutions.

“On average, the 86 courts we are closing are used for just over a third of their available hearing time. That is equivalent to less than two days a week. It will still be the case that after these closures, over 97 per cent of citizens will be able to reach their required court within an hour by car. This represents a change of just one percentage points for both criminal and County Courts. The proportion able to reach a tribunal within an hour by car will remain unchanged at 83 per cent.”

Speaking to the Journal recently, Grantham solicitor Chris Pye-Smith, of Bird and Co, said the plan to close the courts “beggars belief”.

Mr Pye-Smith said: “The consultation document seeks to justify closure primarily on the ground that the Grantham court is “underutilised” and its cases could be heard in Lincoln instead.

“The reality is that the Court at Grantham is not short of work. The truth is that there has been a deliberate plan to squeeze as many cases into as few court sittings as possible over the last few years. This plan meant fewer prosecutors were needed and as a result many have taken redundancy.

“Grantham Court is underused, not underutilised, and the solution would be for it to sit more often trying criminal cases.”

“To propose to close it in these circumstances beggars belief.”