Call for Woking Magistrates' Court to reopen

November 30, 2020 9:32 PM

Following a request from Councillor Will Forster at last week's Police and Crime Panel the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner agreed to work with the Ministry of Justice to try to reopen the former Magistrates' Court in Woking.

Cuts to the justice system coupled with the pandemic lockdown have resulted in a huge backlog of court cases across the country. In the criminal courts the situation is so bad that there are now 558,000 outstanding cases; 509,347 cases waiting to be heard in Magistrates' Courts and 48,713 in Crown Courts.

Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner is already working with the Ministry of Justice, the HM Courts & Tribunals Service and others in the justice system on tackling the backlog in the courts. Capacity at Guildford Crown Court has recently been expanded by installing a portacabin and rebuilding one of its courtrooms to enable 5 court cases to take place there.

Lib Dem Councillor Will Forster, said:

"To help clear the court backlog and get justice for victims of crime I am pleased the authorities will look at reopening the Woking Magistrates' Court. The court closed ten years ago and is now used as a Coroner's Court, but it could clearly be used for criminal cases as well."

"Years of cuts have stretched the justice system to breaking point. The Government needs to build a more effective judicial system as we come out of the pandemic and this should include reopening Woking's Magistrates' Court. We cannot allow justice delayed to become justice denied."