Ballymena court could be closed under new plan

Editorial Image
Editorial Image

Rationalisation of the NI court estate could see eight courthouses close - including Ballymena.

The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) is proposing to reduce the current statutory Court Divisions from seven to three and close courthouses in Armagh, Ballymena, Enniskillen, Limavady, Lisburn, Magherafelt, Newtownards and Strabane due to a reduction in funding.

Speaking on Wednesday, Justice Minister David Ford said: “The financial challenges facing the NI Courts and Tribunals Service mean that continuing to operate the current 20 courthouses is no longer sustainable.

“The closure of up to eight courthouses is one of a number of measures aimed at strategically positioning the Courts and Tribunals Service for the challenges it will face over the next three to five years.

“It will also contribute to the Executive’s wider Public Sector Reform and Restructuring Programme.”

Mr Ford added: “Court closures will undoubtedly have a significant impact on court and tribunal users but we are committed to working with the Judiciary to minimise the impact and to ensure efficient and effective service delivery.”

Full details of the consultation will be made available on the Department of Justice website at: http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/public-consultations.htm

From its start date of Thursday, January 29, the consultation process will run until mid-May 2015.