A NEW era has dawned for local justice.
The magistrates courts across Kirklees have merged into one new unit.
And that means the end of several hundred years of history of local magistrates dispensing justice in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Batley.
Now all have combined to create the Kirklees Bench.
That will be based in Huddersfield, but only after extensive renovation works have been completed to the Upperhead Row courthouse, probably by March.
Although the Kirklees Bench has now been launched, the Dewsbury court will remain open until the end of March to enable renovation work to take place at the Huddersfield courthouse.
There will be a limited number of courts operating in Huddersfield during the building works, but the majority of the Kirklees magistrates and the bulk of the work will be at Dewsbury.
From the beginning of April the Kirklees Bench will sit in Huddersfield and Dewsbury will finally close.
Eileen Marchant, a long-serving magistrate in Huddersfield, has been chosen as the new chairman of the bench.
Ms Marchant has been a magistrate since 1987 and is a former Chairman of the Huddersfield Bench.
The two Deputy Chairmen are Eddie Brady and Christine Mills. Eddie was the last chairman of the Batley and Dewsbury Bench and Christine was chairman of the Huddersfield Family Panel so both bring significant experience to the leadership team.