A decision on the future of Limavady courthouse is due by the end of June, the ‘Journal’ has learned.
The 290-year-old Main Street Courthouse is one of five the NI Court Service wants to close to make savings of roughly £400,000. NI Court Service claim that closing Limavady and transferring business to Coleraine court on Tuesdays would save £54,000, however, the local legal fraternity believes otherwise.
The consultation period on proposals to close Hearing Centres including Limavady closed on 2 March 2012.
A spokesperson for the NI Court Service said: “No decision has been taken on the future of Limavady Courthouse and all responses from consultees are being carefully considered before a final decision is reached.
“It is planned to publish a consultee response document by 30 June 2012. In total 72 responses were received in respect of the overall consultation with 11 specific to Limavady.”
Speaking to the Journal after a packed public meeting about the closure in february, Peter Jack of the Limavady Solicitors’ Association said: “Although it’s called Limavady Courthouse, it serves the needs of 30,000 people, only 12,000 of whom live in the town. This is a Borough Council Courthouse. Quite frankly, I think it would be a catastrophe for justice and democracy in the Roe Valley if every court user is forced to troop over the mountain to Coleraine. What the Court Service tend to forget is that many people just have one brush with the legal and judicial system in their lives and we want that court appearance to be as smooth, as efficient and obviously as humane as possible. Local justice by sheer definition should be served up locally. In short, the courthouse in Limavady ain’t broke so why on earth are the Court Service trying to allegedly fix it?”