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Page last updated at 08:47 GMT, Thursday, 16 December 2010

Magistrate courts closure 'could have serious impact'

The government is planning to close one-in-four Magistrates' and County Courts across England and Wales.

John Thornhill of the Magistrates' Association said that magistrates agreed with some of the proposed closures.

But he told Today presenter James Naughtie that there was anger that the proposed closures could seriously affect the justice system in England and Wales.

And he added that "some of these closures could have a serious impact on easy access" to local justice and that it should be down to local communities which services should close and which could be saved.

Announcing the closures in the Commons earlier this week, the Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said: "Our court estate has simply not kept pace with the changing nature of our society or with the demands modern society places on our justice system.

"An estate of over 500 court buildings is not now necessary or sustainable, nor is it a reasonable expense for the taxpayer."

The government says that closing 93 Magistrates' Courts and 49 County Courts will save £80m.

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