Andrew Tyrie: Chichester court closures ‘little short of a scandal’

Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie
Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie

Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie has blasted the confirmed closure of the city’s courts as a ‘shambles’ and ‘little short of a scandal’.

“This is a shambles,” Mr Tyrie said on Friday. “In the Ministry of Justice document published today, we are told that Chichester Crown Court is to be retained.

Chichester Magistrates' Court will close, with cases moved to Worthing and Horsham

Chichester Magistrates' Court will close, with cases moved to Worthing and Horsham

“But elsewhere in the statement we are told it will be closed. Unfortunately, the latter will turn out to be right.”

On Friday the Government announced that Chichester Combined Court (Crown, County & Family) and Magistrates’ Court would shut along with 84 others around the country.

Mr Tyrie pointed to confusion over the announcement on Chichester’s Crown Court, named on the list of closures but where work would either move to another site or ‘establish alternative local provision’ beforehand.

He said: “In response to the proposals, I asked for a compelling economic case for the closure - supported by evidence.

“None has been provided. It is scarcely surprising there is no economic analysis accompanying the decision to close the court. It clearly has never been done.

“Frankly, that is little short of a scandal.

“A lot of people are going to be badly affected by the closure of these courts.

“My constituents will be forced to travel further at additional personal expense. The proposal was supported by poor and sparse data.

“This is not a reasonable way of making public policy decisions.

“The government should put this decision on hold, take the time to do a thorough economic analysis and then consult on it. Nothing less will be acceptable.”

Chichester’s Crown Court workload will be moved to Portsmouth and Lewes; the County Court to Worthing; and the Magistrates’ Court to Worthing and Horsham.

Alternative venues for crown court hearings or for video link being considered include The Old Courtroom at the Assembly Rooms, North Street; County Hall; and video linking with police stations.

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