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May 27, 2013

New report on courts published today

and can be downloaded from our reports page. And the Times has written about moves to privatise the courts. Why the secrecy surrounding the government’s move to privatise the administration of the courts? In March the Ministry of Justice made an announcement which looked pretty dull www.parliament.uk It seems to refer to a need to increase court fees. But those nearer government have assured me and now the Times that consultants are working even as we speak on a move to privatise both court buildings and administrative staff. But no-one is willing to speak on the record about it. I’m disturbed both by the secrecy and by idea. The courts are public assets, or should be. As it is, magistrates’ courts have lost the local accountability they had before 2003 leading to weaker local links and disenfranchised magistrates. In Transform Justice’s new report we propose almost the opposite – that magistrates’ courts should be returned to local control either of police and crime commissioners, or of local authorities or of local boards similar to the old magistrates’ courts committees.

The new report is here