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Court Time

Volume 600: debated on Thursday 15 October 2015

7. What steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to ensure that court time is not wasted. (901582)

The listing of court cases is a judicial function and a responsibility of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, but when cases are listed the CPS takes steps to make sure the prosecution case is properly prepared and ready for an effective court hearing so the time set aside is fully utilised.

I thank the Minister for that answer, but during a visit to Corby magistrates court I was shocked to hear about how much court time is wasted owing to the CPS not having its case together in time for when it is scheduled. Does the Minister agree that it is unacceptable for cases that are not complete to be brought to court? We really do need to get away from this; it is unacceptable and it wastes not only time but money.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his question. I know he works very hard with his local courts service. A lot of innovation with regard to transforming summary justice and the increasing use of digital processes is leading to quicker timescales, much more effective first hearings and a more efficient use of court time, so I think he has reasons to be optimistic.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

A constituent of mine who is a very competent manager recently did jury service. He said the court system was medieval and it was about time someone came in and organised it better, managed it better and gave a real return to the taxpayer, with better justice delivered quickly.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question. After many years in the courts system myself, I understand his constituent’s concerns. The good news is that a lot of work is being done to digitise the paperwork so that time can be saved. Already there is a new proposed roll-out next year, which will co-ordinate the way in which the courts work with the CPS and other agencies so the sort of delays that irritated his constituent can be reduced and removed.