MP urges people to air their views on plan to move criminal cases out of the borough (From Stourbridge News)
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MP urges people to air their views on plan to move criminal cases out of the borough
10:35am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Local
STOURBRIDGE MP Margot James is urging people to have their say on plans that could leave Dudley borough without a criminal court.
The Ministry of Justice is proposing to transfer criminal cases to other parts of the Black Country - leaving Dudley Magistrates Court to handle just civil, family and tribunal cases in a bid to increase efficiency and cut costs across the criminal justice system.
If the plan gets the go ahead people would have to travel to Sandwell and Walsall for pre-trial hearings and Wolverhampton Magistrates Court would become the trial centre for the Black Country.
Stourbridge’s MP Margot James said of the proposal: “It is disappointing to think this change could leave us without any criminal courts left in the Dudley borough and people having to travel across the region to be tried or participate in trials.
“However we do need to make our court system more efficient and cost effective, the delays people experience at the moment can be awful and does nothing to serve justice, so if these proposals can be shown to achieve those aims they should be considered.
“At this stage, while the consultation process is still in progress, I hope as many people as possible will participate and make their views known. It is important that local people have their say on this local matter.”
Dudley’s Labour MP Ian Austin has launched a petition to object to the plan which he fears may lead to redundancies and make it more difficult for people to see justice being done.
A spokesperson for the Magistrates Association said: “It is inevitable in the current climate of budget constraints that changes have to be made but this should only happen after full consultation.
"Naturally we would prefer justice to be delivered in local communities for local people but recognise this is not always going to be possible.”
The consultation runs until Monday October 21.
For more details or to have a say email WMWJCO@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk with Black Country Listing Consultation in the subject field.
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