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CONSULTATIONS ON LOCAL COURTS PUBLISHED
CHESHIRE & MERSEYSIDE AREA
announced on Wednesday, 23 June 2010, proposals to modernise and
improve the use of courts in England and Wales.
The consultations published today seek to enable HMCS to better
provide vital services for local communities. They ask for views on
whether to close 103 magistrates’ and 54 county courts that are
underused and inadequate in England and Wales.
HMCS currently operates out of 530 courts, some of which do not fit
the needs of modern communities. Their number and location does not
reflect recent changes in population, workload or transport and
communication links over the many years since they were originally
opened. Views are now invited on how we can improve the services
If implemented, running cost savings of
around £15.3m per year could be achieved along with a saving of
£21.5m on maintenance costs that could be avoided. There will also
be savings for other justice agencies by focusing their attendance
at a single accessible location within a community.
Courts Minister Jonathan Djanogly said:- “When public finances
are under pressure, it is vital to eliminate waste and reduce costs.
The Government is committed to supporting local justice, enabling
justice to be done and seen to be done in our communities.
Magistrates hear the majority of criminal cases and this voluntary
contribution will continue to be strongly supported by the
government as the bedrock of our justice system. The arrangements we
have are historical and now need to be re-assessed to ask whether
they properly meet the needs of communities as they are today – we
increasingly use the internet and email to communicate and access
services and we travel further to work, for leisure and to do our
weekly shop. We now have the opportunity to think afresh about how
we can create a more modern fit-for-purpose justice system in line
with the way we live our lives today. Not all disputes need to be
resolved in court. I want to explore whether more people can resolve
their disputes in a way that leads to faster and more satisfactory
solutions. Across the civil, family and criminal courts I want to
explore ways we can harness technology more effectively so people
don’t necessarily have to physically attend court when they give
evidence or access court services. We should not think about access
to justice as simply a question of length of the journey to the
nearest court. In the future, we need to look at whether through the
more effective use of video and telephone links and other technology
including online services, we can improve the public’s experience of
the justice system.”
A full list of the courts in Cheshire and Merseyside being consulted
on can be found in the notes to editors at the end of this press
Jonathan Djanogly continued:- “The Lord Chancellor and I are
keen to hear the views of everyone with an interest in local justice
arrangements. He will take all views into account before making any
decision on which courts ought to be closed and when. As well as
consulting on the courts we need today I want to begin a
conversation about how the courts service could be modernised to
improve the justice system as well as reduce its costs.”
In order to facilitate the proposed changes, the merger of a number
of Local Justice Areas is also being consulted upon. This would
allow magistrates in these areas to be deployed more flexibly and
allow them the opportunity to provide their expertise and experience
to a wider community.
Following an earlier consultation the decision has been taken to
close Leigh County Court. Since an arson attack two years ago, all
cases that would have been heard in Leigh are being heard in Wigan
or Warrington, only seven and ten miles away respectively. This has
not caused any disruption to the delivery of justice in Greater
The consultation papers published apply
to the following HMCS regions and courts in Cheshire and
Merseyside:- Magistrates’ Courts; Northwich Magistrates’
Court; Southport Magistrates’ Court; Knowsley Magistrates’ Court;
County Courts; Northwich County Court; Southport County Court &
Runcorn County Court
The consultation documents are available on the Ministry of Justice
The closing date for consultation responses is 15 September 2010.
Domestic abuse given
red card by Chris Foy
WITH temperatures already rising
and the height of summer approaching, National House-Building
Council (NHBC), who are the UK's leading consumer protection body
for new home construction is raising awareness of the risks of
over-exposure to sunlight for everyone working outdoors.
NHBC wants to raise awareness to everyone working outdoors this
summer of the dangers of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the
UK with 4,975 men diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2007. Whether
you’re tackling the overgrown jungle where the garden used to be,
cleaning out gutters following the recent downpours or just sprucing
up the exterior of your home it’s important to take care.
Simon Mantle, Health and Safety Services Manager at NHBC, said:- “Outdoor workers receive three to four times more sun exposure
than those working indoors but are often unaware of the dangers or
the precautions they should be taking. People working outdoors need
to be safe in the sun and to watch out for signs of over exposure in
themselves, their family and friends.”
The effects of the sun can be felt by everyone but some groups of
people are at greater risk due to their skin colouring or age. Those
with light coloured hair and eyes or those with moles or freckles
are at the greatest risk. It is important that people working
outdoors keep an eye on those who may be at the greatest risk.
“The rise in skin cancer rates throughout the UK is a major concern.
It is important that people are aware of the dangers and take the
necessary precautions when working outside and ensure that they
limit exposure and wear suitable clothing.” said Simon.
Sun damage can be prevented through a number of simple measures,
such as wearing long-sleeved shirts and full length trousers and
applying a high factor sun cream which can help prevent many of the
harmful UV rays from getting through. If you are working outside for
a length of time consider wearing a cap, one with a flap to protect
the neck from exposure is particularly useful as this as a sensitive
area which is often overlooked.
Wherever you are working outdoors other, basic, safety precautions
should always be taken such as:-
► Ensure all electrical equipment such as mowers and hedge trimmers
are connected through a safety cut-out switch - known as an residual
current device (RCD) - which will stop the power supply in case a
power cord gets cut.
► If you are working on ladders make sure they are on a firm footing
and secured at the top and bottom if you are working on gutters, for
example. Wherever possible have someone steadying the base of the
ladder. Never lean out away from the ladder as this can mean you
over-balance – even falls from as low as one metre can have serious
► Wear the right protective clothing - if you are working in the
garden make sure you have a pair of sturdy gardening gloves and use
garden implements with care. Always store garden equipment away
safely when not in use to prevent trips and falls.
► If you are wearing loose clothing in the heat make sure this does
not get in the way and take particular care to make sure it cannot
snag or catch on anything such as hedges or guttering.
For more information about the NHBC go to their
Did you know? It is Eastbourne in Sussex
that holds the title for being the sunniest ever place in the UK.
The seaside resort recorded 383.9 hours of sunshine back in July
Did you know? Faversham in Kent holds the recorded for the highest
temperature in England. in 10 August 2003 the temperature reached a
Did you know? Preston, Lancashire, just down the road from Southport
holds the UK's record for the greatest amount of rain to fall in the
shortest period of time. This ocured on 10 August 1893, when 32mm
fell in just 5 minutes!
Did you know? It is Seathwaite in Cumbria that holds our wettest
title, holding the record for highest 24 hour rainfall total for any
24 hour period in the UK, 316.4mm felling between midnight 19
November 2009 to midinght on 20 November 2009.
Did you know? -27.2°C is the lowest ever temperature in the whole of
the UK. That was recorded in Braemar in Aberdeenshire on 11 February
1895 and on 10 January 1982, and the most resent recording was in
the Highlands in Altnaharra on 30 December 1995.
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