Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Courts may be privatised to save Ministry of Justice £1bn

The courts may be privatised in a justice shake-up that could save the Ministry of Justice £1 billion a year.

The plans would free the courts from Treasure control, placing court buildings and thousands of staff in the hands of private companies.

Fears that privatisation would erode the independence of the courts would be allayed by placing the courts under a Royal Charter, as has been proposed for the regulation of the press.

Earlier this year Justice Secretary Chris Grayling paved the way for reform by instructing officials to explore plans and ensure that the Courts and Tribunal Service provides value for money.

The courts should not be beholden to any private provider because the courts have to be independent of every interest.

“In particular I would be strongly against court buildings being placed in the hands of private providers. We should not have [them] influencing when courts open and close their doors or judges having to negotiate with private contractors over whether, for instance, a court can be open on a Saturday for an emergency injunction.”

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