Ammanford magistrates court could close as part of cost-cutting move
AMMANFORD magistrates court could be axed as part of a cost-cutting move.
Her Majesty's Courts Service wants to close 103 magistrates and 54 county courts across England and Wales that are considered to be "underused" or "inadequate".
Other Welsh magistrates' courts facing closure include Cardigan, Llandovery, Aberdare, Llwynypia, Abertillery and Abergavenny, and Chepstow.
The courts service has launched a consultation over the proposals.
UK Courts Minister Jonathan Djanogly said: "When public finances are under pressure, it is vital to eliminate waste and reduce costs.
"The Government is committed to supporting local justice, enabling justice to be done and seen to be done in our communities.
"Magistrates hear the majority of criminal cases and this voluntary contribution will continue to be strongly supported by the government as the bedrock of our justice system."
He added: "We should not think about access to justice as simply a question of length of the journey to the nearest court.
"In the future, we need to look at whether through the more effective use of video and telephone links and other technology including online services, we can improve the public's experience of the justice system."
As part of the cost cutting exercise, the service also wants to merge a number of local justice areas, meaning magistrates could have to travel further to hear cases.
If the full package of cuts goes ahead the court service would save around £15 million a year, and a further £21 million in outstanding building maintenance costs.
The announcement of closure comes hot on the heels of Chancellor George Osborne's emergency Budget.
Treasury figures reveal the Ministry of Justice's budget will fall from £9.6 billion in 2009-10 to £9.1 billion in 2010-11.