Six courts are to be built after a £400m investment by HM Court Service was announced by Lord Falconer, the justice secretary, this week.

Four of the buildings will be magistrates’ courts in Birmingham, Liverpool, Bolton and Salford. A combined court made up of a crown, county and magistrates’ court will be built in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, and a crown court will be built in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. They are expected to be completed by 2012.

Lord Falconer added that the capital maintenance budget for the repair and maintenance of all courts will be doubled to £191m.

He said: “This announcement marks a substantial investment in the court estate, demonstrating the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to the courts and the communities that they serve.”

Sir Ron De Witt, the chief executive of the court service, said: “We have targeted the money at areas where new courts are most needed. We will also ensure that the extra money we have for maintenance will go to help improve other courts within our estate.”