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Ministerial Corrections

Volume 683: debated on Monday 9 November 2020

Ministerial Correction

Monday 9 November 2020

Justice

Topical Questions

The following is an extract from Topical Questions to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on Tuesday 3 November 2020.

A decade of cuts, court closures and mishandling of the pandemic has created a backlog in the Crown courts of nearly 50,000 cases. It could reach 195,000 by 2024. The Courts Service says we need at least an extra 200 venues to fill the gap, but on 19 October 2020, the Judicial Office confirmed only five Nightingale courts were hearing jury trials. That is a failure of epic proportions, leading to thousands of victims of serious crime being denied justice. Has the Lord Chancellor failed to ask for enough resources to get justice moving, or has he been denied it by the Treasury?

The right hon. Gentleman is wrong on all fronts. First, we secured an extra £80 million of funding from the Treasury to deal specifically with covid court recovery. That came on top of the largest investment and increase in court maintenance in 20 years, including during his stewardship. That has resulted in the scaling up of courts, so that today we have 255 courtrooms hearing jury trials, which is ahead of the target I had set for the end of October. We will go further. We have already opened 19 courtrooms under the Nightingale court scheme. This is not a story of failure. This is a story of success and hard work on the part of everybody in the court service. The projections that he mentioned are based upon some pretty inaccurate predictions that do not bear the closest scrutiny.

[Official Report, 3 November 2020, Vol. 683, c. 155.]

Letter of correction from the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice:

An error has been identified in the response I gave to the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy).

The correct response should have been:

The right hon. Gentleman is wrong on all fronts. First, we secured an extra £80 million of funding from the Treasury to deal specifically with covid court recovery. That came on top of the largest investment and increase in court maintenance in 20 years, including during his stewardship. That has resulted in the scaling up of courts, so that today we have 255 courtrooms hearing jury trials, which is ahead of the target I had set for the end of October. We will go further. We have already opened 29 courtrooms under the Nightingale court scheme. This is not a story of failure. This is a story of success and hard work on the part of everybody in the court service. The projections that he mentioned are based upon some pretty inaccurate predictions that do not bear the closest scrutiny.