Calls to Extend Court Closure Consultation

Plaid Cymru MPs have called for the consultation into court closures, including that of Ammanford Magistrates Court, to be extended, allowing more people to be able to respond and greater debate in parliament. Plaid’s leader in Westminster, Elfyn Llwyd MP, who has been a Member of Parliament for the past 18 years, says he has never seen such a serious consultation undertaken during August ensuring it won’t have full parliamentary scrutiny. Ammanford’s local MP, Jonathan Edwards, has also backed the calls having spoken to numerous groups and individuals associated with the court who feel the consultation needs to be given more time.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“A lot of people have spoken to me locally about their concerns that the consultation period is not long enough. People feel incredibly passionate about opposing these plans and I want to ensure that everyone has the chance to make their views heard.

I am sure that responses submitted to the consultation will highlight beyond doubt the long list of reasons that people have for wanting, and needing, the court facility to remain open in the town.”

Elfyn Llwyd MP, who is a barrister by profession, has raised this issue formally with the Justice Secretary, said:

“In all my time in parliament, I have never seen a serious consultation take place during the month of August – it won’t have full parliamentary scrutiny. Ushering out the report then will lead to hurried closures being made on the hoof which is a very dangerous move. It will make life very difficult for people who use the courts – be it defendants, lawyers or justices of the peace.

“I have warned before that if these closures go ahead then I believe it will usher in the demise of the lay magistracy and greater use of district judges.”

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