Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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Austin calls on Justice Secretary to answer court closure concerns

Dudley MP Ian Austin has urged the Justice Secretary to answer serious concerns about Ministry of Justice plans to close Dudley’s criminal court.

Austin has written to the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and tabled a number of Parliamentary Questions after constituents involved in Dudley Magistrates Court contacted him with their concerns.

They told him that the official Government consultation went back on promises to Magistrates, ignored the full costs of moving court cases elsewhere, and could even be open to judicial review.

Recently released documents reveal that the Government's “preferred option” is for criminal cases to be heard in Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Walsall, leaving Dudley as the largest town in the country with no criminal court.

Austin has launched a petition against the plans which has already gained hundreds of signatures.

Ian Austin MP said:

“The more we learn about these proposals to close Dudley’s criminal court, the more problems come to light.

“It’s already clear the closure would end local justice, but now it’s emerging the Government has gone back on promises to local magistrates and has ignored the full costs of closure.

“In fact the Government’s plans are so flawed they could be open to judicial review. It’s a complete shambles.

“I’ve written to the Justice Minister Chris Grayling and tabled Parliamentary Questions to get answers on these crucial issues, and I want as many local people as possible to sign my petition at www.ianaustin.co.uk and write in to the consultation at the Office of the Deputy Justices’ Clerk for the Black Country, Wolverhampton Magistrates Court, North Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1RA so we can send a clear message to the Government.”

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