The Ministry of Justice is rushing to fix IT issues affecting courts across England.
Lawyers say trials have been delayed, jurors are unable to enrol and witness statements are inaccessible, .
Twitter user @SecretBarrister said the “entire digital infrastructure” of courts had been “broken for days”.
The Common Platform, a system shared between the police, the courts and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), was updated last June at a cost of £1bn.
In a statement posted a few days ago, the MoJ said: “We would like to apologise to everyone who has been affected. We are continuing to work with our suppliers to rectify remaining issues as quickly as possible.”
The disruption continues to “cause chaos” reports The Law Society Gazette.
- One criminal barrister told the publication that none of the computer systems at Leicester Crown Court had been working
- Another said that at Highbury Magistrates’ Court there had been confusion over which cases would be heard in which court
- Connectivity problems were reported at Southwark Crown Court and the Old Bailey
- Others reported that people arriving at court had been left hanging around for hours and cases had been adjourned
Chris Henley QC, who chairs the Criminal Bar Association, told The Law Society Gazette: “Short-term savings often result in wider costs to the public purse and cause a broken criminal justice system to fall further apart.
“Crumbling court buildings are bad enough for court users – both the public and criminal practitioners – but digital failures can have far more profound consequences for all those awaiting trial.”