Magistrates’ Dewsbury court move pledge

SPECIALIST: Batley and Dewsbury Magistrates Court.
SPECIALIST: Batley and Dewsbury Magistrates Court.

MAGISTRATES in Dewsbury are determined that moving local courts to Huddersfield will be made to work.

The positive message has been put out by Eddie Brady, chairman of the Dewsbury and Batley bench.

Asked about the mood of JPs now that a final date for court business in Dewsbury has been announced, he said: “We are going for it. It’s a fait accomplit and we are determined to make the best of this situation. I am proud of what our magistrates have already done to ensure this is a success.”

JPs in Huddersfield and Dewsbury are already hearing cases from both areas to avoid ‘a culture shock’ later on.

The Ministry of Justice last week said the Dewsbury court will hear its last cases on March 30. But even from the new year, court business will be assigned to a new Kirklees Judicial Area rather than named towns.

Mr Brady said Huddersfield work was already coming into Dewsbury due to refurbishment at the Huddersfield court building. “So we will be full to bursting until mid-March,” he said.

Mr Brady has been a magistrate since 1991, taking over as chairman of the bench from Wayne Perriman who retired as chairman earlier this year but is still a magistrate..

“We campaigned hard to keep the court open, but once the decision was made our sole purpose was to make the transition as smooth as possible,” he said. “I am proud of what the team did to try to keep courts in Dewsbury, but that decision won’t be reversed now.

“I’m disappointed that the great tradition of having a court in Dewsbury and Batley is gone, but it will be the same people administering justice. It is sad to be leaving, but the ethos of the way we work will remain.”

Mr Brady said that JPs working with Huddersfield colleagues meant the teams could bond. “And it won’t be such a culture shock when the move happens,” he said.

The actual move from one building to another is being dealt with by the Ministry of Justice estates department. The Huddersfield court building is having to be refurbished to take on the extra business and the move will mean the loss of 48 jobs in Dewsbury.

l In last week’s story about the date of the courts move, we said Wayne Perriman had resigned as bench chairman in protest at the closure. This was not the case.