Crumbling buildings, lengthy queues and delayed hearings: there has been no shortage of horror stories coming out of the courts estate in recent weeks. All of which suggests it might be a good idea for ministers to see the problems for themselves.
However a written answer to a parliamentary question, published this week, reveals the justice quintet of David Gauke, Rory Stewart, Lucy Frazer QC, Phillip Lee and Lord Keen of Elie QC have made a total of seven visits to courts since the turn of the year.
No visits were made anywhere north of Leicester, while Gauke and Frazer both dropped in to Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court within six weeks of each other. Perhaps the coffee is good.
None of the eight courts earmarked for closure in the latest consultation round was deemed worth a visit.
Obiter will leave it to readers to decide whether ministers could do more to see justice working in action.
One of the controversies surrounding the closure plans has been the ambitious time estimates for travelling via public transport to alternative venues. Might we suggest ministers would have a better grip on journey times if they actually made the journeys themselves?