A court that was dealing with cases from another court forced to close due to building safety fears has now itself been forced to close over the same concern.

The Criminal Bar Association revealed last night that Blackpool Magistrates’ Court (pictured), one of eight courts found to have reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), will be closed from today. Blackpool was hearing cases from Preston Magistrates’ Court, which closed in September for potentially up to four months after RAAC previously identified in Preston’s roof had deteriorated. Blackpool County and Civil courts are also closed from today, the CBA said.

A Lancashire criminal court capacity update posted by the CBA said: ‘I’m writing to let you know that, in line with expert advice from structural engineers, we’ve taken immediate action to temporarily close both Blackpool County Court and Blackpool Magistrates’ and Civil Court from Wednesday 1 November. As part of our programme of ongoing monitoring, RAAC previously identified as present on the site was found to be defective.’

The update goes on to say that all magistrates’ court hearings in Blackpool for the remainder of this week will be cancelled except for overnight remand hearings, which will be listed at Preston Crown Court. Remaining civil and family hearings will be heard remotely or moved to nearby alternative sites.

CBA chair Tana Adkin KC said: 'Court closures do put pressure on the criminal justice system and those working within it. We hope that the government investment promised will address these problems and improve the court estate.'

A HMCTS spokesperson said: 'RAAC remains rare across the court estate, with only 10 sites out of a total 350 identified as currently containing this material. As part of our surveying work, we have taken precautionary step of temporarily closing Blackpool County Court and Blackpool Magistrates’ Court. Cases will be heard remotely or at alternative sites to minimise disruption wherever possible.'


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