Court change would have adverse effect

Vulnerable children and parents would be deprived of access to
justice under plans to close down local family courts, the Law
Society has warned.

The Greater London Magistrates’ Courts Authority’s (GLMCA)plans, on
which consultation ended last week, involves the closure of 21
family courts in south London. People might now have to travel to
three central courts in north and central London.

The GLMCA argued that the centres would allow family cases to be
dealt with separately from criminal cases, enabling dedicated
facilities and resources for the work.

However, the Law Society said vulnerable families would be asked to
travel during peak hours, sometimes with small children if they
could not arrange child care, to distant places.

This would increase financial and emotional pressures on the group
and discourage them from attending court, it added.

The Law Society stated that while it agreed with the
“rationalisation” of the family proceedings courts there should be
one central London location open every day with four other courts
evenly distributed across Greater London.

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