Location move puts court jobs at risk

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MORE criminal court cases from Doncaster could be heard in Sheffield after plans were announced to transfer work.

Twelve staff at Doncaster Crown Court have been told their jobs are at risk and there are plans to move the work to Sheffield Crown Court.

A spokeswoman for Her Majesty’s Court Service said the move was being made because Sheffield Crown Court had more resources.

Serious crimes such as murder and attempted murder have always been sent to Sheffield to be heard by High Court judges. But now cases such as rape, assault, arson, burglary and drugs offences could be moved to the city.

It will then be up to Sheffield court clerks to decide which cases, if any, will be heard in the one remaining court room at Doncaster Crown Court.

The building in Doncaster currently has just two courtrooms and was opened in the 1980s. It is run by a staff of 12, along with junior judges.

A spokeswoman for Her Majesty’s Court Service said: “HMCTS continually keeps the use of its estate under review to ensure we are making best use of resources.

“The judiciary, in consultation with HMCTS, has therefore taken the decision that Doncaster Crown Court will become a satellite court of Sheffield Crown Court.

“Doncaster Crown Court will run one courtroom, instead of two, but will continue to provide the resource of a second courtroom should the need arise. The majority of the court’s administrative functions will transfer to Sheffield Crown Court.

“This change will maximise the use of judicial and staff resources in the area and allow the flexibility for cases to be heard more efficiently.

“The new arrangements will be implemented within the next few months and will be kept under review.”

She added: “Staff will be given the opportunity to transfer to other HMCTS venues in the area. We remain committed to avoiding redundancies wherever possible.”