The union representing court workers has voiced opposition to justice secretary Kenneth Clarke’s wish to extend opening hours.

Clarke told the House of Commons home affairs committee last week that the government is considering more evening sittings, following the extension of court hours to deal with the August riots.

The Ministry of Justice says the change would be more convenient for witnesses and victims who work during the day, but Clarke admitted overtime payments to staff could prove expensive.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said there will be little enthusiasm among its members.

A spokesman said: ‘At a time when Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service’s management is planning to cut 685 posts directly working in courts and tribunals we strongly oppose the idea of more evening sittings in magistrates’ courts.

‘As a response to the riots the 24-hour sittings probably were necessary, but these were exceptional circumstances which are unlikely to be repeated.’

Piloting of extending opening hours at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court (pictured) had been unsuccessful, he said.