Preston's Deepdale stadium to host Covid 'nightingale' courts

A new ‘nightingle court’ has opened in Preston to help the justice system through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 3:45 pm

Two courtrooms will be opening in the conferencing suites at Presont North End’s Deepdale stadium.

They will host non-custodial criminal cases and be able to issue fines and community service orders, freeing up the city’s combined court centre for more jury trials. Any cases deemed serious enough for time in prison will be sent back to a Crown Court for sentencing.

Courts Minister, Lord Wolfson QC, said: “We are determined to deliver swifter justice for people across Preston and this new Nightingale Court will boost those efforts.

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Conferencing rooms at Preston's Deepdale Stadium have been turned into two 'nightingale' courtrooms

“This is part of our action to tackle the impact of the pandemic on our courts and reduce delays for victims. As a result, the number of outstanding cases in the magistrates’ is falling and the number of trials being listed in the Crown Court increases each week.”

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The move is part of a £113m government investment to support courts and tribunals during Covid. It includes recruiting 1,600 extra staff, investment in further technology, and on-site safety precautions such as plexiglass screens. This is on top of the £142m being spent to speed up technological improvements and modernise courtrooms. The impact of these measures is already being seen:

Nationwide, outstanding cases in the magistrates’ courts have fallen by around 50,000 since the peak last summer. While the number of disposals continues to be just under pre-Covid levels, the Crown Court continues to see an increase in the number of trials listed. More than 20,000 hearings using remote technology are taking place each week.

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