Defendants from the Fens could find themselves in the ‘dock’ at cathedral -or as the Government describes it a new ‘Nightingale Court’
PUBLISHED: 14:56 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:09 24 July 2020
Defendants from the Fens due to appear in the dock could be told to attend a new “Nightingale Court’ being set up in Peterborough.
The Lord Chancellor said the city had been chose for one of locations for 10 ‘Nightingale Courts’ which have been rapidly set up to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.
The move is intended to ease pressure on courts system and tackle the number of outstanding cases
It is part of a Government plan to ensure justice continues to be served throughout pandemic
The Knights’ Chamber within the grounds of Peterborough Cathedral is among the venues that will come on steam.
Work to identify more potential locations is ongoing to alleviate the pressure on courts and tribunals resulting from the pandemic.
The new courts will hear civil, family and tribunals work as well as non-custodial crime cases.
The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP said: “The move will free up room in existing courts to hear other cases, including custodial jury trials, which require cells and secure dock facilities to keep the public, victims and witnesses safe.”
He said The Knights’ Chamber and Visitor Centre, Gatehouse, Bishops Palace, Peterborough would concentrate on “non-custodial corporate crime”.
“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,” he said..
“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.”
He said in March almost half of all courts were closed and jury trials were paused to minimise social interaction between court users.
“Since then, court staff, legal professionals, and the judiciary have collaborated to prioritise cases and keep the justice system running throughout the lockdown – with up to 90 per cent of all hearings using remote technology during the pandemic.” Cours are also opening for longer to clear a backlog.
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