Justice row: Sunderland Magistrates’ Court to shut on weekends and Bank Holidays

Sunderland Magistrates Court.
Sunderland Magistrates Court.
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SUNDERLAND court is no longer open at weekends and public holidays.

The city’s magistrates’ court has traditionally opened to deal with remand cases.

The move to shut the court comes just weeks after Northumbria Police announced proposals to close Gill Bridge Police Station.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliot said she had not been told about the move.

She said: “I was shocked to hear that the magistrates’ court in Sunderland is not to be open on a weekend, which was a decision I was not informed of.

“I will be asking questions of the courts service about the rationale for this decision.”

The Echo reported earlier this month that Northumbria Police has been told it needs to make cuts of £46million.

In a restructure, the force will lose 230 police staff, reduce its number of senior officers by 200, close ‘expensive’ stations, and reduce the number of ‘area commands’ from six to three.

An HM Courts and Tribunals (HMCTS) spokesman said centralising remand courts would be more efficient.

“HMCTS, in conjunction with the judiciary, routinely reviews local listing arrangements, taking into account changes in workload, in order to make the best use of resources and facilities for users and taxpayers alike.

“From January 18, the three Saturday remand courts for Tyne and Wear, which were held at Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside, were centralised at South Tyneside Law Courts in order to deal with cases more efficiently.

“The new listing arrangements will be kept under review.”