The Carnduff Circuit court will be closing their doors as of May 4, 2017. The decision came down in February from the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court after a review of the justice system in the province conducted early fall of 2016.
"The Chief Judge makes the decision to close the circuit court," explains acting communications officer for the courts, Elaine Thompson. "Every once and a while the Chief Judge will take a look at what is going on in the courts and he will review the allocations of judicial resources in the province. The decision to close Carnduff was made during one of those periodic reviews."
She explains that the Chief Judge collects statistics and analyzes it regarding the level of court activity in various locations.
"He would also consult with the judges sitting in those areas and he would consider those factors including the number of persons appearing in court, the distance to other court points and the ability of the accepting point to handle these cases. They would have done an assessment to determine whether Estevan was in a position to be able to absorb these matters. We're not talking about a lot of matters, we're talking about 20-26 hours of court."
Carnduff Circuit Court sat once every other month in the Legion Hall. In 2015, Carnduff saw 54 new adult accused and 4 youth and saw 26.25 hours of court. In 2014, it was 55 new adults and 1 youth and 20 hours of court.
The descion will save approximately $7000 annually mostly in savings from the court staff travel costs and for the rental of the hall. A circuit court differs from a regular courthouse in that it is not permanent and in the case of Carnduff, it was held in the Legion Hall. The court staff, clerks, sheriffs, lawyers and judge would travel from Estevan to Carnduff to hold court.
Circuit courts in Watrous, Big River and Southey are also closing. Estevan Provincial Court will still continue to run the Carlyle circuit point as well as hear Queen's Bench Court from Weyburn.