Chalk puts Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court centre stage

Responding to  courts modernisation plans  which could see Cheltenham take on casework from elsewhere in the county, Mr Chalk stated: 


‘As part of the Government’s courts modernisation plans, Cheltenham magistrates court can expect to hear cases from across Gloucestershire, not just from Cheltenham. What measures will be taken to ensure that such courts have the physical and staffing resources they need to deal with the increased case load?’


Responding, Shailesh Vara MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Courts and Legal Aid, stated:


‘It is already the case that all magistrates' court work in Gloucestershire that requires custodial facilities is heard at Cheltenham magistrates court. Should more work be moved to Cheltenham following the outcome of the consultation, the Courts and Tribunals Service will continue to assess the resources that are available at the court to ensure that they meet operational requirements. I should, however, emphasise that no decisions have yet been taken regarding magistrates courts in Gloucestershire.’


Speaking following this exchange, Mr Chalk said ‘I know from personal experience as a barrister the vital contribution work our magistrates do, free of charge, to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent. If, as seems likely, Cheltenham does end up being asked to take on more work as part of these reforms, it is essential that our magistrates and court staff get the support and resources they need to do justice in our town.’