Having considered carefully all responses to the consultation, we have made a decision to close 86 court and tribunals and retain 5. 64 sites will close as proposed in the consultation, with a further 22 closures taking place but with changes to the original proposals. These changes, many suggested by respondents, include the establishment of suitable alternative venues, such as the use of local civic buildings; or different venues in the HMCTS estate to those originally proposed.
The government is committed to modernising the way in which justice is accessed and delivered. We are investing over £700 million over the next 4 years to update the court and tribunal estate, installing modern IT systems and making the justice system more efficient and effective for modern users.
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 Midlands, the North East, the North West, the South East, the South West and Wales.
To provide users with an overview of all proposed change to the estate, the consultation also includes information on where we plan to relocate courts within the same town or city. Local stakeholders will be notified of these changes when they take place. We are not consulting on our plans to integrate courts.
Why We Are Consulting
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service estate is made up of a complex picture of freehold, leasehold and casual hire arrangements occupying 460 court and tribunal buildings. In addition there are a number of administrative and support buildings. These were inherited when the organisation was formed in 2011 from the merger of HM Courts Service and the Tribunals Service. Ownership and use of court and tribunal buildings has developed piecemeal over many years. This consultation is an opportunity to stand back and reconsider the existing arrangements and to rationalise the estate so that best value for money is provided for users and taxpayers alike. The courts and tribunals estate costs taxpayers approximately £500 million each year.
These proposals will provide the organisation with a reduced and sustainable estate from which to deliver our business, increase efficiency, and improve our services.
The national consultation document provides important information about the reform of courts and tribunals and how we have decided which buildings to consult on. It also includes a full list of the courts and tribunals that are being consulted on and our other plans to integrate courts into existing buildings within a local area.