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Town halls could be used as courts

Town halls could be used as courts

Councils looking to raise funds could hire out town halls to be used as makeshift courts, it has been revealed.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the proposals, which have been submitted to ministers, could increase the speed of justice while ensuring minimal disruption for victims, witnesses and police officers.

As part of the Government's spending review, up to 103 magistrates' courts and 54 county courts across England and Wales could be closed to cut costs and improve efficiency.

Mehboob Khan, chair of the LGA's safer and stronger communities board, said: "Many town hall chambers would provide the perfect setting for court hearings, with some having existing courtroom facilities.

"Local authorities are well aware of the sensitivities of keeping victims and witnesses safe.

"Although specialist courts are needed in some cases, in the vast majority of court cases, council buildings would be more than adequate.

"It would certainly overcome the problem for rural communities and could maybe provide a boost for council budgets if hire costs were considered."

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