Since 2010, there have been two major court closure programmes: the then Her Majesty’s Courts Service’s (HCMS) Court Estate Reform Programme (CERP) and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service’s (HMCTS) Estates Reform Project (ERP). The CERP resulted in 103 magistrates’ courts and 54 county courts being earmarked for closure. The ERP has led to 86 court and tribunal buildings to be scheduled for closure.
In August 2016 the Chichester Magistrates Courts closed.
Edward Cooke is a family lawyer and mediator acting as the spokesperson for family law professionals group West Sussex Resolution. He has been leading the organisation’s campaign to keep essential justice provision in Chichester. This has been supported by Gillian Keegan MP, as well as leaders of both West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council.
At present the Ministry of Justice is looking at an alternative Combined Court provision in Chichester to allow some of the court functions to remain in the City.
Chichester Combined Court (Crown and County) – Consultation results
The Lord Chancellor has decided that Chichester Crown Court will close and its workload will move to Lewes and Portsmouth Combined Courts once suitable local alternative provision is established. The Lord Chancellor has decided that Chichester County and Family Court will close and the workload moved primarily to Worthing County Court and Family Court once suitable local alternative provision is established. Where appropriate, cases may also be listed in other county and family courts in Sussex located in Horsham and Brighton. HM Courts & Tribunals Service will identify alternative arrangements for dealing with county court and family court hearings or provide video links from alternative venues in Chichester as part of implementation.
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