New state-of-the-art courts

Two new state-of-the-art magistrates’ courts have opened in Essex as part of a wider strategy to improve the capacity and facilities of the county’s court system.

Apr 19, 2012
By Dilwar Hussain

Two new state-of-the-art magistrates’ courts have opened in Essex as part of a wider strategy to improve the capacity and facilities of the county’s court system.

Facilities at the courts in Chelmsford and Colchester include:

•Video link facilities in all courtrooms;

•Wi-fi in public, witness and juror waiting areas to make better use of waiting time and improve the level of customer service for visitors;

•Hearing Loops for the deaf and hard of hearing;

•Secure docks in all courtrooms;

•A separate waiting area for vulnerable witnesses and victims; and

•A dedicated, secure custody suite.

Both buildings have been designed to be environmentally friendly, by having biomass fuel boilers, for example, and will meet government energy targets.

Guy Tompkins, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) delivery director for the South East region, said: “These new facilities demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that local court users have access to a first-class criminal justice system which delivers the level of customer service they expect.

“The new courthouses will be the focal point for criminal and family work in the magistrates’ courts in Essex, as well as providing flexibility for the workload in the Crown Court. The new facilities will also provide better protection for vulnerable witnesses and victims.”

The project to provide the two buildings was delivered within the planned budget of £33.2 million.

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