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Courts Act 2003

Places, dates and times of sittings

28.Section 153 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (MCA 1980) declares that a magistrates’ court may sit on any day of the year, including a Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

29.It is for the magistrates’ court to decide when it shall sit, although in practice, magistrates' courts do not normally sit on Sundays. There are restrictions on where magistrates' courts can sit and the powers of magistrates can vary depending on whether they are sitting in a petty sessional courthouse (section 150(1) MCA 1980) or an occasional courthouse (section 147 MCA 1980). This Act permits the Lord Chancellor to determine when and where magistrates' courts are to sit. This will introduce greater flexibility than the current arrangements and give magistrates full powers wherever they sit.

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