Duncan Lewis

Legal Aid

Lawyers London

Courts are being forced to close during Olympics in fear of traffic chaos

Date: (4 May 2012)    |    

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With the Olympics at the doorsteps everything else seems to be coming to a standstill.
Along with other services which could be affected during the Olympics the Courts in and around London would have to be closed as a result of the transport chaos which is being expected from July 23.
All the crown courts in London are expected to be affected with Old Bailey losing half of its 18 courts for the two week Games.
The already under pressure criminal justice system would find the fortnight having to close especially in Southwark, a Central London borough with a high crime rate where ten out of 15 courts will be shut.
Even courts on the fringes of the capital will be operating at reduced levels. The authorities are worried travel to trials would be a struggle because of the huge influx of visitors.
Transport for London has warned of queues of up to an hour at 29 Tube stations.
Some judges are supposed to have been asked to go on holiday during the Games, which start on July 23.
Police have too supported the closure because officers who would otherwise have to testify in court will be free for security duties.
But many barristers are unhappy with the plan. One called it a ‘nannyish over-reaction’.
Magistrates’ courts will also be hit, although some may have to hold emergency sessions to deal with any increase in disorder.
A Courts and Tribunals Service spokesman said that they had only reduced the number of sittings close to Olympic venues and travel hotspots.