Redbridge Court facing more cases following closures

UNCERTAINTY is hanging over Redbridge Magistrates’ Court as it works out how it will deal with a swell in demand set to be brought on by the closure of a neighbouring court.

Prison video links will be used more often at the courthouse in Cranbrook Road, Barkingside, to help it deal with cases more quickly when Barking Magistrates’ Court closes for good.

That is according to the Ministry of Justice, which has said Redbridge Court is near capacity based on current working patterns and practices.

But with neighbouring Barking court set to close as part of a �58million efficiency programme, Redbridge, along with Havering Magistrates’ Court, will have to plug the gap left by the closure of the Grade II listed building.

Labour Cllr Balvinder Saund, a magistrate at Redbridge Court, said: “The amalgamation is causing upheaval and uncertainty for staff and magistrates.

“I hope once restructuring has been done, things settle down and justice can proceed without much problem, hitches or delays.”

Government chiefs insist Redbridge’s court will be able to handle the increase in cases.

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They say they will introduce a “flexible listing policy” at the court, and maximise the use of prison video link to help save time and increase efficiency in the building’s five courtrooms.

The closure of Barking Court, which will happen when an “implementation” plan is put in place, is part of 142 court closures in England and Wales.

The Ministry of Justice is not ruling out expanding Redbridge Court if population changes lead to “extreme workload”.

It also says traffic cases usually heard at Barking – which account for 35 per cent of all cases at the court – will be diverted elsewhere because the defendants often live outside of the borough.