Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 12:22 UK

Chief judge warns against court closures

The Lord Chief Justice has warned MPs about the impact of the closures of courts in England and Wales.

Speaking to the Justice Committee on 26 October 2010, Lord Judge said that some closures were necessary as "the country is bust", but said there must be a system whereby people without a car can get to court by public transport.

He also raised concerns that cuts to the courts in favour of the prison service could be "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

The position of Lord Chief Justice is the head of the judiciary of England and Wales.

Lord Judge told the committee that he would not sign any concordat on funding unless he was satisfied that administration of justice could be carried out.

He also spoke out about potential reforms to the family court system, saying he had "serious reservations" about whether the use of the traditional adversarial system was beneficial to children and families.

In response to a question by Conservative MP Helen Grant he said he preferred a more conciliatory approach.

Labour's Yasmin Qureshi questioned Lord Judge on his response to the recent announcement of a cut in quangos.

He said that his department would need to have more resources at his disposal to be able to take on some of the functions of the Lord Chancellor's office or part of the work of the Chief Coroner.

Justice committee membership

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