Magistrates have called for open courts to be set up in the Westfield shopping centre in London and other shopping outlets across the UK. The plans, put forward by the Magistrates' Association, are intended to speed up justice and save millions of pounds of tax payers' money.

The idea is that empty shops will be converted into courtrooms, according to the Evening Standard. The association's deputy chairman, John Howson, said "Why not use a unit in a shopping centre with a glass front where everyone can see what is going on? Summary justice should be about dealing with people where they actually are." And it might even provide a little extra entertainment for bored shoppers.

    Justice in public for two shoplifters found guilty at Westfield yesterday

According to Howson the beauty of the idea is that instead of a shoplifter being dragged off to the police station and "it taking hours to build a file", they could be marched straight into an empty shop for an on-the-spot hearing.

The proposal has been made in response to government cost cutting plans, which include closing over 100 magistrates' courts and 54 county courts, and is intended to help keep the local justice system running efficiently.
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