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Half of England’s temporary courts to continue
London's Old Bailey Pic: Shutterstock

03 Mar 2022 / courts Print

Half of England’s temporary courts to continue

Britain’s Ministry of Justice is to continue using 30 ‘nightingale’, or temporary, courts until March next year, in an effort to reduce the effect of COVID-19 on the courts system in England and Wales.

During the pandemic, 60 venues – including sports arenas, hotels, and conference centres – were transformed into courtrooms to provide more space for jury trials when social distancing was in place.

The ministry said that the temporary courts, as well as a number of other measures, had helped to reduce the backlog of cases.

Backlogs dropping

“Combined with other measures – such as removing the cap on Crown Court sitting days, more use of remote hearings, and increasing magistrate sentencing powers – we are beginning to see the backlog drop so victims can get the speedier justice they deserve,” said James Cartlidge, a minister in the department.

The ministry’s figures show that in December 2021 the crown-court backlog dropped to under 59,000 – down 2,000 since its peak in June 2021. In the magistrates’ courts, the outstanding criminal caseload has dropped by almost 70,000 cases since its peak in July 2021.

The government department stated that in some areas – such as the north-west of England – the majority of the temporary courts were no longer needed, and would wind down at the end of this month.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland