Fourteen new ‘Nightingale courts’ are to be announced as part of a £113m initiative to convert hotels and event spaces to tackle a backlog of nearly 500,000 cases, according to press reports. The new programme will bring the number of emergency courtrooms to 60 by the end of March.
According to the Mail, walls in Manchester Crown Court will be knocked down to create a ‘super court’, large enough to house all parties involved in gang murder trials. A courtroom will also be opened at the Hilton in Deansgate.
Liverpool, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Chichester and Croydon are among those to receive extra courtrooms. A courtroom will also be opened in London’s Barbican performing arts centre.
The newspaper quotes Buckland as saying the move will provide a ‘shot in the arm for the justice system’.
‘We have achieved an immense amount in our battle to keep justice moving during the pandemic – restarting jury trials before anyone else, turbo-charging the rollout of video technology, bringing magistrates’ backlogs down, and opening more courtrooms for jury trials,’ he said. ’These new courts are the latest step in that effort, and I am determined to minimise delays and ensure justice is served for victims, defendants and the public.’