Potential closure of North Devon Magistrates Court “deeply concerning” says MP
Geoffrey Cox, Torridge and West Devon’s MP has highlighted his concerns over the proposed large reduction in services at North Devon Magistrates Court, and the impact this will have on constituents and professionals alike.
The MP met with Bideford solicitor Debbie Bakehouse to discuss the concerns in detail, agreeing the reduction would result in the loss of delivering justice locally.
Geoffrey said: “Immediately on meeting Ms Bakehouse at the end of July I wrote to HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to outline how troubled I was by the news that perhaps barely half a day per week would be available for trials in North Devon.
“Clearly this will be a severe blow to the area, resulting in a loss of local justice which will place a greater burden not only on the legal professionals, but victims, witnesses, complainants and our police force who would be required to travel far greater distances. Court hearings will in turn be much more frequently disrupted by a failure to attend.”
Ms Bakehouse, of Bazeley, Barnes and Bazeley Solicitors, commented: “I would like to thank Mr Cox QC, MP and his staff for their support over the past few weeks. The current proposals are of deep concern to many people and agencies as the court is the only one remaining in the North Devon area serving a very wide rural community.
To reduce any part of the court service in Barnstaple would mean users would have to travel long distances to Exeter, the cost of which could be both financially and emotionally difficult for many, and even prove to be a barrier to their ability to attend.”