England

Courts to be closed in North East of England

Nine courts across the north-east of England are to be closed as part of a cost-cutting programme.

The government said 93 magistrates and 49 county courts across England and Wales would be shut.

The magistrates courts to be closed include Guisborough, Bishop Auckland, Tynedale, Alnwick, Blaydon, Gosforth and Houghton le Spring.

Bishop Auckland and Consett county courts will also be shut.

Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly said the current system was "unsustainable", but Labour accused the coalition of "crude cost-cutting".

Former barrister and Conservative MP for Hexham, in Northumberland, Guy Opperman said decisions to close some magistrates' courts could be open to judicial review.

Mr Opperman told MPs: "The consultation had poor quality figures, they were badly applied and if they are wrong, does he accept that (there could be a) judicial review."

Mr Djanogly replied that he believed the figures were correct.

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