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91 Courts To Close

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GMB Comments On Consultation To Close 91 Courts In England And Wales

If courts are not being used fully, why does it take 10 years for a trial to take place when two workers are killed at a construction site because of a crane collapsed asks GMB.

GMB, the union for staff managing the estate for courts and tribunals, commented on the consultation beginning on 16 July 2015 to close 91 of the 460 courts and tribunal hearing

centres across England and Wales. The consultation ends on 8 October 2015. See notes to editors for extracts from the consultation document with list of courts that are proposed to be closed.

Stuart Harrison, GMB Organiser in the West Midlands, said „The government proposals to close 91 courts and tribunals will not only affect GMB members but front of house staff, security, custody staff and escort drivers etc.

GMB members at GEO Amey for example are very concerned for their jobs, some with young families as they listen and read about the closures in newspapers and on TV.

GMB are in the process of visiting these courts to talk to members about the affect these changes will have, as far as we’re concerned no consultations have yet taken place or arrangement put in place.

GMB is calling on Michael Gove to rethink, this will not only put people out of work, but will also increase travelling time and cost for any relocations available.

If Michael Gove thinks that these courts are not being used fully, why does it take 10 years for a trial to take place when two workers are killed at a construction site because of a crane collapsed? The full hearing will not take place till September 2016 due to shortage of capacity in the courts.  See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release on this.

Even by Michael Gove’s standards the proposed cuts to the justice system of 91 court closures is drastic to say the least, Security staff who are employed both in the courts and also providing services will be affected by the cuts potentially leading to job losses. This again shows that the Tory government are prepared to even compromise our safety.”

John McClean, GMB National Health and Safety officer, added “The closure of 91 courts includes 57 magistrates courts.

GMB has grave concerns that with the introduction of the new sentencing guidelines for health, safety and corporate manslaughter cases in magistrates courts that victims will be further away from justice than ever.

 Where previously there was a maximum of £20,000 fines magistrates will now have the same sentencing powers as the Crown court. This was originally designed to free up crown courts to focus on more serious cases.

However combined with the perceived inexperience that many magistrates have in sentencing in these areas, as they can be financially and factually difficult complex cases, combined with the removal of so many courts GMB fears that many victims and their families will still not get the proper justice they deserve.”

Contact: Stuart Harrison, GMB Organiser 07957 266840 or Samantha Jones, Media Administrator 0121 550 4888 or 07939 874272 or  John McClean GMB 07710 631 329 or Dan Shears 07918 767781 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Extract of document issued by Ministry of Justice 16th July 2015

The consultation

This is a national consultation on the provision of the court and tribunal estate in England

and Wales.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service manages the operation of courts and tribunals

through seven regions in England and Wales and the consultation includes annexes

covering London, the South East, the South West, the Midlands, the North East, North

West and Wales.

The consultation covers the proposed closure of:

  • 57 magistrates’ courts
  • 19 county courts 2
  • 2 crown courts
  • 4 tribunal hearing centres
  • 9 combined courts

This represents the following reductions in purpose-built hearing room capacity:

  • 257 magistrates’ court rooms, representing 23% of the current total of magistrates’ court rooms
  • 21 crown court rooms, representing 4% of the current total of crown court rooms
  • 139 county court rooms, representing 17% of the current total of county court rooms
  • 63 tribunal rooms, representing 13% of the current total of tribunal rooms.

The list below sets out all the courts covered in this consultation because closure is

proposed and integration is planned.

London

Bow County Court

Feltham Magistrates’ Court

Greenwich Magistrates’ Court

Hammersmith County Court (formerly West London County Court)

Lambeth County Court

Pocock Street Tribunal Hearing Centre

Richmond-upon-Thames Magistrates’ Court

Tottenham Magistrates’ Court

Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court

Woolwich County Court

Midlands

Birmingham Youth Court

Burton-upon-Trent Magistrates’ Court

Buxton Magistrates’ and County Court

Corby Magistrates’ Court

Grantham Magistrates’ Court

Kettering County Court

Kettering Magistrates’ Court

Sandwell Magistrates’ Court

Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court

Skegness Magistrates’ Court

Solihull Magistrates’ Court

Stafford Magistrates’ Court

Worksop Magistrates’ Court

North East

Consett Magistrates’ Court

Halifax County Court and Family Court

Halifax (Calderdale) Magistrates’ and Family Court

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court and County Court

Morpeth County Court

Rotherham Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court

Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court

Wakefield Magistrates’ Court

North West

Accrington County Court

Accrington Magistrates’ Court

Bolton County Court and Family Court

Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court

Kendal Magistrates’ Court and County Court

Macclesfield County Court

Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court

Oldham County Court

Oldham Magistrates’ Court

Proposal on the provision of court and tribunal estate in England and Wales

Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court and Family Court

Runcorn (Halton) Magistrates’ Court

St Helens Magistrates’ Court and County Court

Stockport Magistrates’ Court and County Court

Tameside County Court

Trafford Magistrates’ Court and Altrincham County Court

Warrington County Court

West Cumbria Magistrates’ Court and County Court

South East

Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court

Basildon Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (Acorn House)

Bedford and Mid Beds Magistrates’ Court and Family Court and Bedford County Court

and Family Court

Bicester Magistrates’ Court and Family Court

Bury St. Edmunds Magistrates’ Court and Family Court and Bury St. Edmunds Crown

Court

Chichester Combined Court (Crown and County)

Chichester Magistrates’ Court

Colchester County Court and Family Court

Colchester County Court Offices

Dartford Magistrates’ Court

Dover Magistrates’ Court

Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court

Harlow Magistrates’ Court

Kings Lynn County Court and Family Court

Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court

Redhill Magistrates’ Court and Family Court and Reigate County Court and Family Court

St Albans County Court

Tunbridge Wells County Court and Family Court

Watford Magistrates’ Court and Family Court

West Berkshire (Newbury) Magistrates’ Court

South West

Barnstaple Crown Court

Bath Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family Court or North Avon (Yate) Magistrates’

Court

Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court

Cheltenham Rivershill House Tribunal

Chippenham Magistrates’ Court, Civil Court and Family Court

Dorchester Crown Court

Fareham Magistrates’ Court

Gloucester Magistrates’ Court

North Avon (Yate) Magistrates’ Court or Bath Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Family

Court

Stroud Magistrates’ Court

Torquay Magistrates’ Court

Wales

Brecon Law Courts

Bridgend 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

Proposal on the provision of court and tribunal estate in England and Wales

Wrexham Tribunal (Rhyd Broughton)

In addition to proposed closures in this consultation the following integrations will be

taking place.

Midlands

Chesterfield County Court to be integrated within Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court

(Chesterfield Justice Centre)

Chesterfield Tribunal (St Mary’s Court) to be integrated within Chesterfield Magistrates’

Court (Chesterfield Justice Centre)

Hereford County Court and Family Court to be integrated within Hereford Magistrates’

Court

Telford County Court and Family Court to be integrated within Telford Magistrates’ Court

North East

Doncaster County Court to be integrated within Doncaster Magistrates’ Court

Doncaster Tribunal (Portland Place) to be integrated within Doncaster Crown Court

Durham Elvet House Tribunal to be integrated within other tribunal sites within the County

Durham estate, including Durham County and Family Court

East Parade Sheffield Tribunal to be integrated within Sheffield Combined Court

Harrogate County Court to be integrated within Harrogate Magistrates’ Court

Middlesbrough Tribunal Hearing Centre to be integrated within Teesside Magistrates’

Court

Quayside House Newcastle Tribunal to be integrated within North Shields (Kings Court)

Tribunal

Wilberforce Court (Hull Employment Tribunal Centre) to be integrated within Hull

Magistrates’ Court and Hull Combined Court

North West

Bolton Magistrates’ Court to be integrated within Bolton Combined Court

Lancaster County Court to be integrated within Lancaster Magistrates’ Court

Warrington Magistrates’ Court to be integrated within Warrington Combined Court

South East

Aylesbury Crown Court to be integrated within Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court, County Court

and Family Hearing Centre building

Bury St Edmunds Employment Tribunal (Government Buildings) to be integrated within

Bury St Edmunds County Court

Cambridge Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (Eastbrook House) – Cambridge

Tribunal to be integrated within Cambridge Civil Justice centre and Cambridge

Magistrates’ Court

Cambridge Residential Property Tribunal Service to be integrated within Cambridge Civil

Justice Centre

Norwich Employment Tribunal (Eliot House) integrated within Norwich Magistrates’ Court

Southend County Court and Family Court to be integrated within Southend Crown and

Magistrates’ Court

South West

Aldershot and Farnham County Court to be integrated within Aldershot Magistrates’ Court

Arcade Chambers (Aldershot Tribunal) to be integrated within Aldershot Magistrates’

Court

Plymouth St Catherine’s House (Plymouth Tribunal) to be integrated within Plymouth

Combined and Plymouth Magistrates’ Court

Southampton Western Range and Barrack Block to be integrated within Southampton

Magistrates’ Court

Taunton Blackdown House (Taunton Tribunal) to be integrated within Taunton Deane

Magistrates’ Court

The Crescent Centre (Bristol Tribunal) to be integrated within Bristol Civil Justice Centre

Weymouth and Dorchester Combined Court offices to be integrated within Weymouth

Magistrates Court

Yeovil County Court to be integrated within South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates

Court (Yeovil)

Wales

Caernarfon Civil and Family Court to be integrated within Caernarfon Criminal Justice

Centre

Swansea Crown Court (Guildhall) to be integrated within Swansea Crown Court (St Helens)

2 GMB press release dated 25th May 2015

GMB Join Protesters As Case Against Company And Director Over 2006 Battersea Fatal Crane Collapse Is Heard In Southwark Crown Court On 27 May 2015

It is an outrage that there will be a 10 years delay for trial to take place for the company and the director for two deaths due to a crane collapse says GMB

GMB will join other protesters outside the court as the case against a crane hire company and its director over the deaths of an employee and member of the public when a tower crane collapsed at a construction site in Battersea over 8 years ago is being heard in Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday 27 May 2015 at 11am. The full hearing will not take place till September 2016 due to shortage of capacity in the courts.

The first appearance was at Westminster Magistrates Court at 2pm on Wednesday 25th February where Falcon Crane Hire Ltd and Douglas Genge were charged with Health &Safety at Work Act (HSWA) breaches after HSE identified alleged failings with maintenance and overloading of the crane in question.

Jonathon Cloke, 37, fell to his death from inside the cab of the crane when it overloaded and snapped at a Barratt Homes site in September 2006. A section of the crane then struck and killed Michael Alexa, 23, as he cleaned his car in a neighbouring street outside the development.

John McClean, GMB National Health and Safety Officer, said “ GMB is joining this protest since the full hearing will not take place till September 2016 due to shortage of capacity in the courts.

It is an outrage that there will be a 10 years delay for trial to take place for the company and the director for these deaths due to a crane collapse.

The case now moves to the Crown Court. GMB will discuss with the local trade unions and the families whether to stage a protest outside the Court on March 11th.

Faulty crane maintenance caused these deaths. The Notification of Conventional Tower Crane Regulations 2010, introduced after a Battersea led campaign to prevent further crane deaths, which set out the duty to notify the use of conventional tower cranes on construction sites to HSE, have since been revoked as “red tape”. See notes to editors for copy of HSE press release of April 2010 on the Tower Crane Regulations.

Employer pressure led to these regulations being revoked and the associated Register closed down so from April 2013 there is no longer a duty to notify tower cranes on construction sites to HSE.

The long interval between the deaths and the court case and the revoking of regulations on crane collapses “as red tape” provide a clear example of how little human life is valued.”

End

 

 

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