Tunbridge Wells Town Hall to hold court hearings in innovative revamp of local justice
PUBLISHED: 13:26 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:26 15 March 2017
The cases being heard would otherwise take place in Maidstone or Hastings
Court hearings are set to be held in Tunbridge Wells Town Hall following the signing of a new partnership.
The borough council and HM Courts & Tribunals Service signed the agreement off the back of the closure of the County Court and Family Court Building in the town.
Following a successful trial of the new arrangements in the latter months of 2016, HM Courts & Tribunals Service decided to go ahead with the scheme to use the council chamber for suitable hearings on one day a week.
The cases being heard would otherwise take place in Maidstone or Hastings.
Paul Barrington-King, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for finance and governance, said: “This is an innovative arrangement that benefits all involved through the use of the town hall.
“We have secured a service in our area avoiding the need for people, who may not have the means or time to travel a considerable distance to access a court.”
HM Courts and Tribunal Service chief executive Susan Acland-Hood added: “We have a world-leading legal system and are investing over £1 billion to reform and modernise our courts to increase the use of virtual and online hearings and deliver really user-friendly court buildings.
“Closing underused and dilapidated court buildings will allow us to reinvest in the court estate and ensure access to justice, whether digitally, through the use of video, or through projects like this.
“Tunbridge Wells Town Hall is an excellent example of how existing local facilities can be used innovatively to provide local justice when there aren’t enough cases to fill a courtroom day in and day out.”