Will Forster

Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking and Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Call for Woking Magistrates’ Court to reopen

by willforster on 3 December, 2020

Last week, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner agreed to my request to investigate reopening the Woking Magistrates’ Court to help cope with the backlog in the criminal justice system.

Cuts to the justice system, coupled with the pandemic lockdown, have resulted in a huge backlog of court cases across the country.  In the criminal courts the situation is so bad that there are now 558,000 outstanding cases; 509,347 cases waiting to be heard in Magistrates’ Courts and 48,713 in Crown Courts

Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner is already working with the Ministry of Justice, the HM Courts & Tribunals Service and others in the justice system on tackling the backlog in the courts.  Capacity at Guildford Crown Court has recently been expanded by installing a portacabin and rebuilding one of its courtrooms to enable 5 court cases to take place there.

To help clear the court backlog and get justice for victims of crime, I am pleased the authorities will look at reopening the Woking Magistrates’ Court.  The court closed ten years ago and is now used as a Coroner’s Court, but it could clearly be used for criminal cases as well.

Years of cuts have stretched the justice system to breaking point.  The Government needs to build a more effective judicial system as we come out of the pandemic, and this should include reopening Woking’s Magistrates’ Court.  We cannot allow justice delayed, to become justice denied.

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