'Faster access to justice' pledge as new Nightingale court opens in Midlands

A fifth Nightingale Court will open its doors in the Midlands in a bid to reduce the region's crippling backlog of cases.

A fifth Nightingale Court has opened in the Midlands
A fifth Nightingale Court has opened in the Midlands

The conference room at the Delta hotel in Warwick, off junction 15 of the M40, has been transformed into two crown court rooms for jury trials involving burglary and drug offences.

It will run alongside the region's other Nightingale courts, which include a combined court at Park Hall Hotel in Wolverhampton, two crown court rooms at Birmingham's Maple House, and a civil and family court in Telford.

The temporary courts were brought in by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in a bid to reduce a backlog of crown court trials that has topped 60,000.

They include thousands of cases in the Midlands, where some hearings have been delayed by more than two years.

Courts Minister James Cartlidge MP, said the new Nightingale court would "give people in the Midlands faster access to justice".

He added: "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."

The court comes equipped with technology enabling parties in cases to appear remotely by video in a bid to avoid any delays to proceedings.

The MoJ says it is working to reopen more crown courts following the lifting of most Covid restrictions in England and Wales. Up to now 36 have reopened.

More than 20,000 hearings now take place remotely each week.

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