DCSIMG

Magistrates’ court fight goes back to the top

LOCKED UP: A security guard turning the key in the courts main door for possibly the final time in December.

LOCKED UP: A security guard turning the key in the courts main door for possibly the final time in December.

MP John Hayes is seeking a second meeting with Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling in a bid to save Spalding Magistrates’ Court.

The court was mothballed on December 19, but the South Holland and The Deepings MP is concerned about residents being denied access to justice – and possibly justice itself with witnesses reluctant or unable to travel.

All family cases are being heard in Lincoln and adult and youth cases are going to Boston and Grantham.

Mr Hayes met solicitors and other interested parties at his home, including district council deputy leader Nick Worth, on Friday and has written to Mr Grayling seeking further talks.

This follows a meeting Mr Hayes and solicitor Rachel Stevens had with Mr Grayling in January.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has “de-listed” the court – taken its work away – but only the Lord Chancellor has the power to close the court.

Mr Hayes and local lawyers are marshalling their arguments and collecting facts and figures about court workloads in order to challenge the court’s de-listing.

The MP said: “We are determined to make the best effort to resist closure. In the end, it is not in my hands to stop the court closing but I will give this my best shot.”

Mr Hayes is also seeking more information from the courts service on its reasons for de-listing, including a revelation the main concern was fire safety – something that’s not been aired before.

HMCTS began stripping the court’s work away after questioning the safety of stairs from the cells to the dock in court room one, but refuses to publish details of an incident in which someone allegedly slipped.

 

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