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Magistrates Courts: Closures

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates courts have closed in (a) rural areas and (b) non-rural areas in each year since 1995. (227305)

The Ministry of Justice does not hold information on the magistrates courthouse closures, which occurred prior to 1995. The following table provides details of the magistrates court closures (broken down into (a) rural and (b) non-rural areas) which have taken place since 1995.

Number of magistrates courts closed in each year since 19951

Rural 75

Rural 50

Significant rural

Other urban

Large urban

Major urban

Total number of courts closed

1995

3

1

1

0

2

0

7

1996

8

6

2

2

0

3

21

1997

2

4

3

3

1

8

21

1998

12

4

1

3

2

3

25

1999

1

0

1

2

l

2

7

2000

8

1

0

2

0

2

13

2001

12

7

3

3

3

2

30

2002

5

0

2

0

0

0

7

2003

9

2

1

1

0

0

13

2004

1

0

0

0

0

1

2

2005

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2006

0

1

0

0

0

1

2

2007

1

2

0

0

0

1

4

2008

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1 The rural constituency classification (introduced by the Rural Evidence Research Centre on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2006) has been used to define whether court closures took place in rural/urban areas. The classification divides constituencies into the following six categories:

Rural 75: Over 75 per cent. of the population live in rural settlements (including 207 large market towns);

Rural 50: Over 50 per cent. of the population live in rural settlements (including 207 large market towns);

Significant rural: More than 37,000 or between 26 per cent. and 50 per cent. of the population live in rural settlements;

Other urban: Fewer than 37,000 or less than 26 per cent. of the population live in rural settlements;

Large urban: A minimum of 50,000 or 50 per cent. of the population live in a large urban area; and

Major urban: A minimum of 100,000 or 50 per cent. of the population live in a major urban area (i.e. over 750,000 of the population).