England

Axe looms for seven courts in Devon and Cornwall

Penzance Magistrates' Court
Image caption Penzance in Cornwall could lose both its county and magistrates' courts

Seven courts in Devon and Cornwall could face closure under plans announced by the Ministry of Justice.

In total, 103 magistrates' courts and 54 county courts could be axed in England and Wales.

Closing them would save the government an estimated £15m a year in running costs, plus £22m in maintenance of the buildings.

Some local justice areas could be merged to allow magistrates to be deployed more flexibly.

The government, which is required to consult the public before closing the courts, said it wanted to modernise the justice system by concentrating resources in more efficient facilities

In Cornwall, the courts which could be shut are Liskeard Magistrates, Camborne Magistrates, Penzance Magistrates and Penzance County Court.

In Devon, Newton Abbot Magistrates, Totnes Magistrates and Honiton Magistrates may close.

Between 1997 and 2004, under the former Labour government, eight courts closed in Devon.

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