The only crown court in West Sussex set for closure

Chichester Combined Court in West Sussex has been earmarked for closure. The reasons for the closures include, the court being apparently underused. This announcement has come alongside 91 other court closures, said to save the tax payer £500m per year.  Lawyers have pleaded with the Lord Chancellor, Michael Grove, to reconsider his decision as Chichester is one of the busiest courts in England. 

Chichester is the only crown court in West Sussex, a county with more than 800,000 people. Chichester Court has two crown courtrooms and six cells. It also has two civil and family hearing rooms. The court recorded a 78% usage rate during 2014 and 2015. The president of Chichester District Law Society, Sara-Jaye Fildes, commented: 'It is a spectacularly busy court - a lot of the time we can't even get in to see judges'.

If the court is closed down criminal work will be moved to the crown courts in Lewes and Portsmouth and civil  county court work will be moved to Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings. If this is the case then there is a chance the allocated substitute courts will not be able to cope with the increased volume of transferred work. This will also put pressure on the regions transport systems and costs to the individuals attending court. It is believed that the Ministry of Justice staff have inaccurately calculated the fact that the users of the court will be travelling during peak times. 

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