Plaid Cymru has pledged to create a ‘courts in the community scheme’ to improve access to justice in parts of Wales impacted by court closures. 

In its manifesto published today, the Welsh independence party also pledges to combat legal aid ‘deserts’ by supporting lawyers to move into that field and making it more sustainable. It also wants devolution of Wales’ criminal justice system, in that it would create a minister for justice to take over control of policing and criminal justice in Wales.

This proposal would remove the role of elected police and crime commissioners, as the minister would be accountable ‘to the people of Wales’, rather than Westminster.

Plaid’s manifesto states: ‘Plaid Cymru believes that everybody should have access to justice, within easy access of the community in which they live. Sadly, for too many years, this right has been reduced, either through deliberate closure of local court facilities or the reduction in funding or opportunities for legal support.’

The party says it would support the legal workforce to move into legal aid fields of provision and make ‘the whole field more sustainable’.

It adds that many parts of Wales were affected by court closures under both Labour and Conservative governments and said this has made it difficult to access justice in the local community. 

‘Plaid Cymru would pilot a courts in the community scheme which visit areas of the country with an appropriate timetable to resolve local justice needs’, the manifesto states. ‘This could also help reduce the backlog of court cases.’

Plaid said it would also repeal law that ‘unfairly restricts opportunities for non-violent protest’. This would include parts of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 and the Public Order Act 2023.


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