I have already written about how court closures will undermine the fabric of the civil justice system. Justice will be imposed on communities from afar, rather than being an integral part of the local community.

However I thought it important to draw attention to Chris Dale’s eviscerating analysis* of the decisions made in Court closures and their parallel with Beeching and the railways.  The key points are:-

  1. Both took a chain saw to something which merely needed pruning

“Society is paying for Beeching now and we will pay for the court closures for decades to come (literally, probably – the MOJ’s estates people are so stupidly incompetent that we are still paying rent and maintenance on courts closed in the last round).

2.  Both were based on unsound premises

“The MOJ has been criticised for everything from downright lies to “research” which amounted to a handful of unscientific enquiries; its own response to the closures consultation admits to several errors by which they misled us.”

3.Both sets of decisions were founded on narrow mathematical models which made no sense in the real world

“What level of systemic incompetence makes it “urgent” to dismantle a country’s court system like this?”

4. Both offered the lure of a technology-led alternative

“We know before we start, however, that the MOJ will cock it up; we also know that the courts will disappear before the new technology is rolled out, let alone tested”

And the result…

“We see lawyers – bright, committed, trained, insured, regulated – replaced by amateur “Mackenzie Friends” while barristers leave the profession and publicly-funded advice centres close.

We have judges retiring early, undervalued and overworked, while the next-generation-but-one is driven from the profession.”

* Thanks to Chris Dale for permission to cite from this.