THE MINISTRY of Justice has a fine line to walk between keeping its costs down and making sure our justice system is open and accessible to all.

Plans to close magistrates courts in Caerphilly and Abergavenny are being seen by some as a step too far in the wrong direction.

It is not that long since Abergavenny Magistrates Court was threatened with closure only to then undergo a £500,000 refurbishment.

Not so many years ago this corner of Wales had many courts with most sizeable towns having access to their own magistrates court.

That is no longer the case and over the years we have seen many closures time and time again.

But there has to be a point when it is no longer fair to carry on with a system where closure seems to be the only option pout forward for saving money.

Yes money is tight, yes we know the public sector is under immense pressure to cut costs.

But on the other hand, people have to have access to our justice system.

And any moves which make it more remote must be thoroughly thought through otherwise local justice faces being eroded.

People need to have access within reasonable travelling distances to the courts whether they need to access them as accused, witness or victim.

And the principle of community justice being delivered by ordinary citizens for local people needs to be preserved.