THE Ministry of Justice says it has no plans to close Warrington Crown Court, despite it not having heard any cases in more than six months.

A major shake-up of the court system in the town in September 2016 has seen a huge drop in the number of cases heard at Warrington Crown Court.

And the Legh Street courtroom has not actually been used for any crown court case since November 2 2018.

Since the changes were made nearly three years ago, the most serious cases from the north of Warrington have been heard at Liverpool Crown Court.

Meanwhile, those in the south of the town have been brought before Warrington Crown Court or Chester Crown Court – although the vast majority are heard in the latter.

The building remains in use as Warrington Magistrates Court – which was moved across the town centre from Arpley Street in January 2017, when Halton Magistrates Court was also shut.

While three of the site’s four courtrooms are used for magistrates cases, the crown courtroom remains unused.

But a Ministry of Justice courts and tribunals spokesman said: “Warrington Crown Court remains open and there are no plans to close it.

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“Any decision to close a court is not taken lightly and only following a public consultation.

“Crown court hearing can be accommodated in nearby Chester Crown Court.

“Listing is a function carried out by the judiciary, so the decisions that have meant crown court cases only being heard in Chester rather than Warrington since November have been made by local judges - not HM Courts and Tribunals Service.”

Tribunal hearings and family matters previously heard in Warrington Magistrates Court and Halton Magistrates Court were also moved in 2016, and are now brought before St Helens County Court.