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Farron Condemns Kendal Court Closure

February 11, 2016 5:19 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has urged local residents to join the campaign to protect the Magistrates court in Kendal from plans to close it.The decision to close Kendal Magistrates' Court and County Court shows "total disregard" for local communities whose access to the justice system will be harmed, according to South Lakeland MP Tim Farron.

In a move criticised by local MP Tim Farron, the government has announced today that Kendal Magistrates' Court and County Court will be closed. The workload from Kendal Magistrates Court will move to Lancaster Magistrates' Court and Barrow-in-Furness Magistrates' Court, whilst the workload from Kendal County Court will move to Barrow-in-Furness County Court. HM Courts & Tribunals Service will work with SLDC to explore further options for alternative local access to justice, but there are no firm proposals at present.

During the consultation, Tim had made clear his opposition to this move, pointing out that it will severely limit the ability of local people to get fair access to justice. Under the new system, some local residents will have to travel up to two and a half hours to access the justice system, and this journey will come at considerable cost.

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara has claimed that more than 97% of citizens would still be able to reach their required court "by car within an hour". However, during the consulation, Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner pointed out that "The majority of those attending courts in Cumbria (over 80%) travel by public transport."

Tim said: "This decision is a massive blow to local people. The Government's closure of Kendal court will make it very difficult for local families to get fair access to justice in South Lakeland.

"The government's consultation showed that 98% of local people opposed this move, yet despite this Michael Gove has pressed ahead with the closure. This decision shows a total disregard for rural communities like ours, where people will now have to travel significant distances and at considerable cost simply in order to have access to justice.

"Justice will be diminished as people will be put off going to court because of the time and money involved. We will also end up with the perverse situation in which defendant, victim and witnesses could all be sat together for hours on the same bus to Barrow - to suggest that this wouldn't have an impact on the system's ability to deliver justice is absurd.

"The closure will also heap additional costs in terms of time, effort and money, on to our police force in Cumbria who have already been cut back by the government. I will continue to campaign to see a return for fair access to justice in South Lakeland."