New “Nightingale” court opens in Warwick

  • Boost for justice in the Midlands as the region opens its fifth “Nightingale” court
  • £14 million invested into Nightingale courts across the country so far
  • Warwick site will begin hearing cases this month

A hotel in Warwick – conveniently located just off the M40 – joins other temporary courts located in Birmingham, Nottingham, Telford and Wolverhampton in efforts to increase capacity and tackle the impact of COVID-19 on the criminal justice system. Together they’ve delivered hundreds of sitting days during the pandemic, helping to minimise delays for victims, witnesses and defendants.

The hotel’s conference room usually hosts weddings and receptions but will provide two Crown courtrooms for jury trials involving burglary and drug offences.

The court comes equipped with the latest technology rolled out at speed by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) during the pandemic. This means parties in the case can appear remotely by video where appropriate, to avoid any delays to proceedings.

Courts Minister, James Cartlidge MP, said:

The new Warwick Nightingale court will provide vital additional courtrooms to give people in the Midlands faster access to justice.

We have already pumped £14 million into temporary courts across the country to increase capacity and will continue to help the criminal justice system recover from the pandemic, deliver swifter justice and support victims.

Today’s announcement forms part of the significant action taken since the start of the pandemic to ensure the courts can recover from the pandemic and tackle delays. This includes:

  • investing a quarter of a billion pounds to support recovery in the courts in the last financial year – including over £50 million for victims and support services
  • ensuring there is no limit on the number of sitting days the Crown Court can sit this year
  • working to reopen existing Crown courtrooms following the lifting of most restrictions in England and Wales (36 have reopened so far with more to follow soon)
  • setting up Nightingale courtrooms across the country to increase capacity and ensure more trials can be heard – with a commitment to extend 32 Crown courtrooms that deal with criminal trials until March 2022
  • hosting more than 20,000 hearings using remote technology each week (across all jurisdictions) – a huge rise from a standing start in March 2020

The impact of these measures is already being seen. England and Wales were among the first major jurisdictions in the world to resume jury trials; the number of outstanding cases has dropped by around 80,000 in the magistrates’ courts since its peak in July 2020 while the caseload in Crown Court is beginning to stabilise.

Notes

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