A number of courts on the Newfoundland and Labrador circuit court system are going to be combined or eliminated.

Court hearings in Harbour Breton, Conne River, and Bay d'Espoir have been scheduled to be held only in Bay d'Espoir, beginning in March 2013.


Andrew Parsons is the Liberal justice critic. (CBC)

Circuit courts will be eliminated in Springdale and Burgeo, with cases from those communities to be heard in Grand Falls-Windsor and Stephenville.

Justice critic voices concerns

Andrew Parsons, the Liberal justice critic, said in the House of Assembly on Wednesday that he is concerned about the cuts.

"Removing communities from the circuit court will mean huge barriers in accessing court services," Parsons told the House of Assembly. "This includes victims and their families and the accused. Restricting access to court services is restricting access to justice."


Darin King is the N.L. justice minister. (CBC )

However, justice minister Darin King said that the government can't interfere with the decision to make changes, because courts are independent.

"The chief justice has done a thorough review and contemplated everything in his decision, including deployment of resources," said King. "Because it is very important that we maximize the limited amount of resources, including judges and support staff that we have in the province to provide the best service available."

Justice department officials have said no employees will be affected by the changes.

Staff and judges have traditionally travelled from their home communities to the circuit court hearings.