Solicitors welcome retention of courthouse

Janice Spence, Chairperson of Lisburn Solicitors' Association.
Janice Spence, Chairperson of Lisburn Solicitors' Association.

Lisburn Solicitors’ Association has welcomed the Justice Minister’s decision to save Lisburn Courthouse from closure.

The organisation campaigned for the retention of the local courthouse, stressing that “a city needs a courthouse and its citizens should have access to justice on their doorstep.”

Welcoming Claire Sugden’s move to reverse her predecessor’s decision to close Lisburn and five other local courthouses, the Chairperson of Lisburn Solicitors’ Association, Janice Spence said: “We were delighted to hear the good news regarding the retention of all six local courts. We campaigned long and hard to keep Lisburn Court open because we knew how important it is to have a hub of local justice. We had always argued that there were more factors to be taken into account when considering whether to close Lisburn Court than simply costs and, as a consequence, we had consistently asked that the impact that the proposed closure would have on all members of our local society be considered as part of the process. We are delighted that the new Minister agrees that it is time to pause, to take account of our justice system and to do all that we can to improve it.”

She added: “It is evident that the Minister acknowledges the importance of justice at a local level. We are looking forward to helping her and her department work towards continuing to improve justice for all the people of Lisburn.”

Meanwhile, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, which also campaigned for the retention of the city’s courthouse, has welcomed the Minister’s announcement as a victory for common sense.

Chairman of the Strategic Community Planning Partnership, Alderman William Leathem, said: “We are delighted that Lisburn Courthouse will remain open for the foreseeable future and would like to thank all parties who campaigned for its retention.”

The Chairman of the council’s Governance and Audit Committee, Cllr Tim Mitchell added: “I welcome the decision by the Justice Minister to reverse the decision to close Lisburn Courthouse. In particular I would like to express my gratitude to all the Alderman and Councillors of all parties and council officers who successfully campaigned to retain this essential service.”

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