The UK Government this afternoon announced the findings of HMCS's Court Estate Rationalisation programme. There is both good and bad news for Anglesey.
The bad news is that, following the recent consultation, Llangefni Magistrates' Court will be closed along with 12 others throughout Wales. The good news is that the Government has confirmed that the County Court in Llangefni has won a reprieve.
The closure of Llangefni Magistrates' Court will be implemented as part of a phased programme starting in April 2011. I am informed that it is hoped that staff will only be reduced by natural wastage, but voluntary redundancy packages will also apparently be considered. Cases that would previously have been heard at Llangefni will now in all likelihood be heard at either Holyhead or Caernarfon Magistrates' Courts.
Many of the courts which will close in Wales are quite old and not able to provide suitable facilities for victims or witnesses. These changes will mean that the money saved from closing under-used or not-fit-for-purpose courts will be able to be reinvested into modernising and improving other courts.
Even though I am very glad that the County Court in Llangefni has been reprieved, I am personally very saddened to see Llangefni's Magistrates' Court close -- I would have preferred if they could both have stayed open. However the rationalisation of the courts throughout the UK is part of a larger reform of the justice system which also includes sentencing and rehabilitation and changes to legal aid. If you are affected by these changes and would like to speak to me regarding them I am happy to meet with anyone at any time -- please get in touch using the 'Contact me' section above.