North Lincolnshire court closure date draws nearer

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As the date draws nearer for the closure of Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court, advice is being issued to Isle residents about what will happen to cases when this takes place.

The court, which also includes the county and family court, will open its doors for the final time on December 22, following a decision by the Department for Justice.

This will mean cases will be transferred to Grimsby, Hull and Doncaster.

The court is among 86 across the country, which are due to shut as part of “modernisation” plans. An online petition against the closure gathered more than 700 signatures but this was not enough to save the building.

The Government argues that huge swathes of the court estate are under used and new technology means fewer court buildings are needed. Ministers said 48 per cent of court buildings were empty at least half of the time last year and the reforms aim to reduce the £500m annual cost of the courts estate.

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said on average the 86 courts due to be closed were only being used for just over a third of their available hearing time - equivalent to fewer than two days a week, he said.

More than 97 per cent of citizens would still be able to reach their required court “by car within an hour” after the closures, he said.

As a result of the closure, from January 2017, North Lincolnshire Council’s cases – including council tax, business rates, family, non-school attendance, noise nuisance, trading standards, food hygiene and planning – will be dealt with at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court.

A NLC spokesman said: “We are reminding people as many of our cases will soon no longer be heard in Scunthorpe. Letters will state clearly the Grimsby Magistrates Court Centre address and it is important that people read the letter to ensure they go to the right place.”

Anyone facing court for non-payment of council tax or business rates who believes they have a valid dispute should contact the council on 01724 297000 well before the court hearing date.

Get free independent advice from Citizens Advice Bureau either online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or by telephone on 01724 870941.