Bridgend County Borough Council has called on the Ministry of Justice to re-think its proposals to close its local court, amid concerns over access and the potential for increased costs for the authority’s legal team.
Bridgend Law Courts are among 11 Welsh court buildings and 91 in England and Wales overall earmarked for closure.
The MoJ’s consultation on the plans runs until 8 October. Details can be found here.
Cllr Mel Nott OBE, Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “As it is now, it isn’t always easy to get victims of crime, witnesses and defendants to come into Bridgend for court hearings, so it would clearly be a much tougher task for them to travel to Cardiff.
“I do not believe it is in the interests of justice for our communities to be left without easy access to the law courts, so I have made a representation on behalf of the council in opposition to the closure of Bridgend Law Courts.”
Cllr Nott, who served as a magistrate for 25 years, added: “The closure would also have a direct impact on the local authority as council staff currently have close access to the courts for their involvement in criminal and childcare litigation, and the closure would lead to increased staffing costs.
“We have already reduced our criminal litigation as a result of budget cuts, and the proposed closure could place the public at risk through the inability to fund public protection litigation.”
The ten other Welsh court buildings earmarked for closure are: Brecon Law Courts, Carmarthen Civil, Family, Tribunal and Probate Hearing Centre, Carmarthen Law Courts (The Guildhall), Dolgellau Crown and Magistrates’ Court, Holyhead Magistrates’ Court, Llangefni Civil and Family Court, Neath and Port Talbot Civil and Family Court, Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court, Prestatyn Magistrates’ Court, and the Wrexham Tribunal and Hearing Centre.