Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 

Richard Fuller and Alistair Burt at debate on Bedford Magistrates' Court

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On Tuesday 25th March, local MPs Richard Fuller and Alistair Burt held an Adjournment Debate in Parliament on Bedford Magistrates’ Court.

The debate was in response to an announcement in February by the ‘Justices Issues Group’ in Bedfordshire that all criminal and civil cases would be removed from Bedford Magistrates’ Court and heard in Luton instead.

During the debate, Bedford MP Richard Fuller expressed his concerns that the decision would effectively lead to the closure of Bedford Magistrates’ Court. He said,

“This is a crucial issue for local people. It affects access to justice, the ability of people to get to their magistrates court.”

“It is being presented as a reallocation of case loads, but it is not a reallocation of case loads. It is a closure of Bedford Magistrates’ Court by the back door, cleverly but unfairly bypassing the rights of the people.”

Alistair Burt added,

“This is a closure by other means, and an administrative dodge used to ensure that the decision avoids the Minister.”

The MPs called on the Minister to take a close look at the decision and to see whether he might be able to intervene.

The Minister agreed to come to Bedford to meet with the MPs and local people affected by the decision.

4 Responses to Bedford MPs hold debate in Parliament on future of Bedford Magistrates’ Court

  • Bedford is the county town but even local justice now will be heard in Luton and Herts Courts……The costs on non attendance, victim support travel costs, witnesses not appearing for trial must be far more that having criminal cases listed in the county town of Bedforshire. Local crime should be mean local justice.

  • It would odd for the county town to be without even a magistrates court, let alone a crown court – though presumably there is a great deal more crime in Luton than Bedford?
    Whilst there would no doubt be a cost saving attached to the proposed change, it would surely be a detriment to the town of Bedford to be pushed into the sidelines of legal jurisprudence (even modest local law courts can, and indeed often have, contributed to the study and theory of law).
    So well done to Richard Fuller & Alistair Burt for demanding further examination of this issue.

  • Well done for making the point that this is closure by the back door. It is totally ridiculous that the county town of Bedfordshire should not have its own Magistrate’s Court. Apart form anything else, much of the crime dealt with by the court involves young people who would not be able to get either the money or the incentive to travel further afield. It would lead to far more cases being adjourned for non attendance, creating an administrative and logistical nightmare as well as putting yet more pressure on the police who would have to execute even more warrants.

  • I would like to suggest that that if the general public were more interested in the justice system it might help to generate the support to continue with a magistrates court in Bedford in those magnificent buildings.

    Promote the idea of public attendence of court cases!
    I believe that many people are unaware that this is something
    that they are free to do.

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