`What Price Justice` is a campaign run by Yorkshire newspaper The Keighley News, aimed at opposing the proposed closure of both the Magistrates Court and County Court at Keighley.
Her Majesty`s Court Service aim to make the Courts in Bradford responsible for the area, in order to save funds.
The newspaper has a number of very well-argued points to make, but to sum up, it believes the journeys involved for Court users (and remember, we`re not just talking about defendants here, but victims, witnesses, Police Officers, Solicitors, Magistrates etc in the case of the Magistrates Court and claimants and plaintiffs in the case of the County Court) are just not practicable. It also stresses the need for local justice to be served locally and the benefit of local knowledge among Magistrates - as they point out, it`s highly unlikely that all of the 113 lay (voluntary) Magistrates currently serving in Keighley will be prepare to travel to Bradford to undertake their duties.
The campaign is supported by local MPs Kris Hopkins and Philip Davies, both Conservative.
There have been two interesting counter-proposals from members of the public which have attracted publicity locally.
One is that empty former college buildings in North Street, Keighley could be used for a Justice Centre, housing both Magistrates and County Courts, which could serve the area from Shipley to Settle.
The other is that, with Magistrates Courts in both Skipton and Keighley threatened with closure, the two Courts could be merged to form a proposed Keighley and Craven Court.
That brings us neatly to Skipton, where the Craven Herald has launched a very similar campaign, and the arguments are very similar. They claim to have the support of Magistrates, Court staff, Police Officers and local residents, and are also supported by Julian Smith MP and Councillors David Ireton, Carl Les and Paul Whitaker (all Conservatives).
USEFUL ARTICLES -
KEIGHLEY NEWS (www.keighleynews.co.uk)
No Justification in Moving Court 26 August 2010
Keighley News Joins Battle to Keep Courts on Doorstep 19 August 2010
We Must Not Let County Courts be Moved or Closed 26 August 2010
"Court Argument Lost" (reader`s letter) 31 July 2010
Craven Herald and Pioneer (www.cravenherald.co.uk)
Deadline Looms for Comments on Plan to Close Skipton Courts 2 September 2010
MP Continues Campaign Against Skipton Court Closure 15 August 2010
Objector to Court Closure Warns of Traffic Problems 19 August 2010
Ex-J P Hits Out at Court Plans 6 August 2010