Three more courtrooms at Ministry of Justice HQ

  • additional three hearing rooms for family cases until summer 2021
  • extra £30m to boost capacity and reduce delays
  • part of the Government’s plan to ensure courts recover quickly from the pandemic

Meeting spaces have been converted to Covid-secure hearing rooms at the site in London, which since August has enabled more than 100 family cases to be heard safely.

The move forms part of a new, additional £30m investment to deliver a further 40 Nightingale courtrooms and fund a range of measures to boost court capacity. It brings the total investment in action to reduce delays and alleviate pressures on the courts system to more than £110m.

A further £337m announced in the Spending Review last week will support the Government’s crime agenda – delivering swift and effective justice to convict offenders, support victims, and protect the wider public.

Courts Minister, Chris Philp said:

We will explore every viable option for additional court space across the country – and that of course includes looking close to home.

Courts staff have gone to great lengths to help our recovery and the additional capacity at Petty France will further help to deliver speedier justice in the capital.

Two of the new court rooms will begin hearing cases from today (1 December) and the other from next week. They will bring total number of Nightingale courtrooms operating across England and Wales to 32.

This forms part of the wider measures designed to ensure the quickest possible recovery – including the recruitment of 1,600 more court staff, rolling out technology, and opening 27 temporary jury rooms in courts across the country.

These measures are beginning to show positive results:

  • since August, magistrates’ courts have seen outstanding cases fall – dealing with over 21,000 cases each week. Crown Courts are currently holding over 100 jury trials, and clear over 1,700 cases a week
  • more jury trial rooms open every week, with more than 250 in operation by the end of October
  • we’ve installed plexiglass screens into over 400 courtrooms and jury deliberation rooms

Notes

  • there are 16 Nightingale courts operating across the country

  • 102 Petty France in Westminster hosts the head offices of all Ministry of Justice agencies, including HM Courts and Tribunals. The Nightingale Court has been in operation since 24 August

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