Today, the Lord Chancellor has announced that Government will be setting up 10 temporary ‘Nightingale Courts’ in England and Wales to “tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system”.
Government claim the temporary courts are part of their plan to “ensure justice continues to be served throughout pandemic”; With temporary courts beginning to hear cases as soon as next week.
Since the start of the pandemic, courts have made use of ‘new video technologies’ with up to 90% of hearings adopting the new processes. Since March 2020, as much as 50% of courts were closed, seeing many jury trials paused to minimise social interaction between court users.
The sites confirmed as being used for the temporary courts are :
- Former county court at Telford, Shropshire
- Hertfordshire Development Centre, Stevenage
- Swansea Council Chambers, Swansea
- Cloth Hall Court, Leeds
- Middlesbrough Town Hall, Teesside
- East Pallant House, Chichester
- 102 Petty France, London
- Prospero House, London
- Former magistrates’ court at Fleetwood, Lancashire
- Knights’ Chamber and Visitor Centre, Bishop’s Palace, Peterborough Cathedral
(Note : The courts will hear civil, family and tribunals work as well as non-custodial crime cases.)
In this mornings statement, Robert Buckland QC said : “Our action to keep the justice system running throughout the pandemic has been globally recognised, with these Nightingale Courts being the latest step in this effort.
“They will help boost capacity across our courts and tribunals – reducing delays and delivering speedier justice for victims.
“But we won’t stop there. Together with the judiciary, courts staff and legal sector, I am determined that we must pursue every available option to ensure our courts recover as quickly as possible.“