Expensive upgrade - but court is to close

Calderdale Magistrates Court.
Calderdale Magistrates Court.

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has slammed the Government for wasting public money on an expensive upgrade of Calderdale Magistrates’ Court just months before it was announced it would be closing.

Last summer the court underwent a digital transformation with the installation of state of the art in-court presentation technology.

This allows the sharing of digital material such as photos or videos through a wireless link to in-court TV screens and was intended to make it easy to share and present evidence digitally.

While much of the technology could potentially be moved to other courts after the closure, campaigners have highlighted the fact that the cost of labour and wiring alone will have cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds which cannot be recovered.

John Bottomley, chair of Halifax and Huddersfield Junior Lawyer Division, said: “The technology upgrade last summer meant that the courts in Halifax were well equipped for the future as lawyers had access to state of the art presentation technology.

“Unfortunately thousands of pounds have been wasted on labour and wiring for courtrooms which are soon to be closed down”.

Ms Lynch uncovered the information about the recent upgrade through a parliamentary question to Justice Minister Shailesh Vara.

She said: “It shows an incredible lack of judgement by the Conservative Government that our courts have been scheduled to close just months after this expensive upgrade.

“This revelation brings further frustration to those who campaigned for the plan to merge our two courts into one building.

“This would have saved significant amounts of money and allowed us to keep justice local, yet was rejected by the Government.”