Since 2010 some 164 court buildings have been sold off reported raising more than £200 million in the last seven years. Justice minister James Cartlidge said, in a written response to a parliamentary question by MP Steve Reed, that since 2015, ‘sale proceeds totalling £211m’ had been reinvested in the court service’s ‘Reform’ programme including ‘introducing 21st century technology and online services to increase access to justice and improve efficiency’.
According a report in the Mirror over the weekend, London’s Blackfriars Crown Court was ‘sold for the highest amount – £64,258,161 – while Ely Magistrates’ Court was bought for just £1 by the city’s council in 2013′.
‘The decision to close any court is not taken lightly,’ said James Cartlidge. ‘It only happens following full public consultation and only when effective access to justice can be maintained. Courts that have closed were either underused, dilapidated or too close to another that remains open.’