VULNERABLE people could be denied justice when the axe falls on Burton County Court later this month, a charity has warned.
South Derbyshire Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), based in Church Street, Church Gresley, said the closure could affect the poor and disabled by forcing them to travel to Derby for justice.
The charity said people may need to attend court to, for example, defend actions against possessions of mortgaged or rented properties, petition for bankruptcy and bring or defend claims for money owed.
However, the closure of Burton’s court would now force people in South Derbyshire to find and pay for transport to take them to Derby, a challenge which could prove ‘particularly difficult for people with disabilities and/or on low incomes’.
Deputy manager Sarah Brown said: “People are able to go to the county court to defend themselves against civil actions, such as halting eviction proceedings to stop them losing their homes.
“However, they can only do this if they are able to access the court.
“If they are unable to travel the greater distance to Derby County Court they will not be given the chance to defend themselves in a court of law.
“This could leave certain groups in the community unable to access justice and to defend their rights.”
The CAB said the closure would take effect just as the need for county court justice was forecast to increase due to fallout from the welfare reforms.
It said that with one report suggesting rent arrears could rocket by as much as 51 per cent, those affected would need to attend county court ‘to make sure everything possible has been done to avoid eviction’.
The CAB said East Staffordshire Mobility Link would be able to offer transport to the disabled, elderly and those on low incomes for a charge of 50p per mile.
More information was available by calling 01283 512705.