Hartlepool court to close

Hartlepool Law Courts
Hartlepool Law Courts

Hartlepool's magistrate and county court is to close next year it has been announced today.

The building in Victoria Road will cease to operate sometime between January and March next year.

It was one of 91 courts and tribunal services recommended for closure in England and Wales by the Government due to them being underused and to save money.

In future criminal cases will be dealt with at Teesside Magistrates' Court in Middlesbrough.

The proposed closure of the Hartlepool court was strongly opposed by the then chairman of the bench Peter Bowes, Hartlepool Borough Council, MP Iain Wright and the public.

The decision was made by the Lord Chancellor following a public consultation last year/

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said today: “Our courts and tribunal system is in need of urgent reform. Maintaining our underused and dilapidated court buildings costs the taxpayer £500 million a year but some courts sit for less than half the time available.

“This is simply unsustainable. Closing these courts in poor quality buildings will raise £40 million to re-invest in the justice system, and save hard-working taxpayers £27 million per year.

“The decision to close a court is never taken lightly, but in the digital age I am confident we have measures in place to ensure access to justice is not diminished.”

More to follow.