Eastbourne law courts will close later this year, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed today (February 11).
The magistrates court, the family court and the county court – all based on Old Orchard Road – are expected to close between October and December this year.
The announcement comes as the government confirms it will close 86 courts and tribunal services across England and Wales.
In a written statement, the Minister for the courts and legal aid Shailesh Vara said, “Court closures are difficult decisions; local communities have strong allegiances to their local courts and I understand their concerns.
“But changes to the estate are vital if we are to modernise a system which everybody accepts is unwieldy, inefficient, slow, expensive to maintain and unduly bureaucratic.
“Having considered carefully all responses to the consultation, we have decided to close 86 of the 91 courts and tribunals. 64 sites will close as proposed in the consultation.
“A further 22 closures will take place but with changes to the original proposals. These changes, many suggested by respondents, include the identification of suitable alternative venues, such as local civic buildings; or different venues in the HMCTS estate to those originally proposed.
“I am very grateful to all those who engaged with the consultation to help us to reach the best solutions.”
Responding to the news, Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said, “This is disappointing news for court users and staff and for everyone who campaigned to keep the court open, and I thank them all for their hard work.
“I have spoken to the courts minister who has said that some form of video link will be available so that defendants, witnesses and victims can have the opportunity, if it’s appropriate, to give their evidence from Eastbourne.
“We must now move on and work together to ensure the court building remains a community asset. I will be seeking a meeting with those responsible for its disposal to find out time frames and what is intended.”
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