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Technology can help preserve access to justice when courts close

11 February 2016

Citizens Advice has today said that it is important that access to justice is preserved when courts are closed. This could include helping more people to secure justice without having to attend court in person.

The Government has today announced that it will close 86 courts and tribunals across England and Wales.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“People’s access to justice must be preserved when courts are closed.

“The Government’s aim to help more people secure justice without attending court in person is right and for this to be achieved the implementation must match.

“The stress and difficulty of giving evidence or getting redress through the justice system can be heightened by the pressures of attending court in person.  

“While court closures could mean some people have to travel longer distances, technology such as video links could help tackle this issue. And where this can be done safely it is also sensible to explore how other community locations can be used by people seeking justice.”

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Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free practical and emotional support for witnesses in all criminal courts across England and Wales. The Witness Service is run by nearly 2,500 volunteers and 300 staff and its independent support is offered to anyone to called to give evidence.

  2. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.

  3. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.

  4. To find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales or to get advice online, visit citizensadvice.org.uk.

  5. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.

  6. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends

  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.