Magistrates' courts cuts

The otherwise extremely well-researched and important article by Andrew Millington (The Lawyer 5 August) failed to mention that one of the reasons why courthouse closures have accelerated is the provision in the Police and Magistrates' Courts Act which required the appointment by courts committees of a chief executive, a new level of management to magistrates' courts' administration.

It is mainly in areas where a joint appointment has been made of justices' clerk/chief executive that courthouse closures have been avoided.

Incidentally, research in Hounslow suggests it is probably not correct to say that the vast majority of people using magistrates' courts will have committed an offence.

Our research suggests that the figure is about 50 per cent. Of the remainder a significant number are advocates (whose travelling costs fall mainly on the public purse) and witnesses upon whom the operation of our justice system is totally dependant.

AJM Baldwin,

Justices Chief Executive