BLS to host Nightingale Court – round-up of press coverage banner

BLS to host Nightingale Court – round-up of press coverage

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We are delighted to announce that our premises at 12 Colston Avenue are to become a Nightingale Court. BLS celebrate their 250th Anniversary today and will of course continue to provide all the usual services via its operational team who have been working remotely since March 2020.

Please see the MOJ press release below.

Bristol Law Society becomes a ‘Nightingale Court’

  • Nightingale Court set up to ease pressure on Bristol Crown Court
  • One of two new Nightingale Courts opening this week
  • Part of plans to ensure the courts system recovers from the pandemic as quickly as possible

A ‘Nightingale Court’ in Bristol will hear its first cases this week, as part of the Government’s plan to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.

The new site located at Bristol Law Society will carry out employment tribunals as well as non-custodial criminal cases, such as community service orders.

Temporary courts, known as ‘Nightingale Courts’, have been rapidly set up across the country to alleviate the pressure on courts and tribunals resulting from the pandemic – ensuring that justice continues to be served for victims as quickly as possible.

Courts Minister, Chris Philp MP, said:

“I am grateful to Bristol Law Society for joining the national effort to reduce delays and deliver speedier justice for victims.

“This is part of our plan to unlock vital capacity in the face of this unprecedented pandemic and ensure our courts recover as quickly as possible.”

Ben Holt, President of Bristol Law Society, said:

"This is I believe a great example of the benefits that can be achieved by close co-operation between The Society, the profession, the Judiciary and The Ministry of Justice.

“It will enable and ensure greater access to the justice system to members of the public and court users at a time when it is under extreme pressure."

It brings the number of Nightingale Courts open nationwide to 14, including one in Chester which also began hearing cases this week. A further two are due to open later this month, in total providing 22 extra courtrooms.

The move follows a recent £80m investment in the courts system to meet the unprecedented challenge presented by the pandemic. This will fund the employment of 1,600 new staff to support the recovery, with more temporary Nightingale Courts and technology to boost capacity. These measures are beginning to show positive results:

  • Magistrate courts are seeing the number of outstanding cases drop – dealing with over 21,000 cases a week
  • Crown courts are currently holding over 100 jury trials, and clear over 1,700 cases a week
  • 250 Crown Court rooms will be available for jury trials by the end of October following the roll out of Plexiglass screens to more than 200 court rooms and 100 jury deliberation rooms

Meanwhile, a major £153 million investment across the courts system announced in July will speed up technological improvements and modernise courtrooms.

Notes to Editors

  1. In August, the locations of an initial set of Nightingale Courts were unveiledA further eight were revealed last month
  2. Plexiglass screens have been rolled out to more than 200 courtrooms and over 100 jury deliberation rooms helping to enable 250 Crown Court rooms for jury trials by the end of October.
  3. New video technology is additionally being rolled, out having been used in up to 90% of hearings since the outbreak began.
  4. See the Lord Chancellor’s statement on court recovery

The Law Society Gazette article can be read here