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No more hearings at judicial review court

31 May 2011

Hearings at Sittingbourne Magistrates’ Court, the court at the centre of the legal battle against the government’s radical closure programme, ended last week.

A judicial review against the closure of Sittingbourne, the first of its kind, was heard at the High Court two days before.

North Kent firm Robin Murray & Co brought the challenge, part funded by Chancery Lane and the Kent Law Society.

A further judicial review, against the closure of Barry Magistrates’ Court in Wales, will be heard next month, along with an oral hearing challenging the closure of the court in Cardigan. Cardigan Magistrates’ Court has already been mothballed.

Lord Justice Elias, Mr Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, who heard the Sittingbourne case, will also hear the Welsh reviews and deliver their judgments at the same time later next month.

A spokesman for the MoJ said none of the courts would actually close until the rulings are delivered. Cardigan is scheduled to shut on 30 June, followed by Sittingbourne on 29 July and Barry in December.

Chris Atkinson, managing partner of Robin Murray & Co, said the closure of Sittingbourne would mean that there would no longer be a magistrates, family proceedings or youth court in the borough of Swale, which covers 130,000 people and the whole of the island of Sheppey.

Atkinson said most of the work would be transferred to Maidstone, around 20 miles from Sheppey, but some would go to Sevenoaks, which is 40 miles away .

Categorised in:

Procedures Courts & Judiciary