Nine Nightingale courts to remain open to address case backlogs, says MoJ

updated on 21 February 2024

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Last week the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced that 20 Nightingale courtrooms, across nine venues, will remain open this year to tackle the huge number of outstanding cases.

The MoJ has said that the majority of the 20 courtrooms will stay open until March 2025 to provide quicker access to justice to enable victims to have their day in court as soon as possible. Judges using the temporary courtrooms will hear cases from shoplifting to family proceedings.

These Nightingale courts were first introduced during the covid-19 pandemic to provide additional space for hearings.

Justice Minister Mike Freer said: “Crown courts are already dealing with the highest number of cases than at any point since 2019. We want to keep making progress and deliver swifter access to justice.”

The nine Nightingale courts staying open are:

  • Barbican, London (extended until August 2024);
  • Chichester (extended until March 2025);
  • Cirencester (extended until March 2025); 
  • Croydon (extended until March 2025);
  • Fleetwood, Blackpool (extended until March 2025);
  • Grand Connaught Rooms, London (extended until September 2024);
  • Maple House, Birmingham (extended until December 2024);
  • Swansea (extended until March 2025); and
  • Telford (extended until March 2025).

These locations were identified as ones that can:

  • help to reduce the number of local outstanding cases;
  • support maintenance projects by hearing cases when nearby locations are temporarily closed; or
  • make full use of judicial capacity in court areas where there are more judges available.

Other measures implemented to address the outstanding cases in the criminal courts include the government’s £220 million investment to modernise and repair court buildings in England and Wales, and maximising the use of remote hearings.