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Covid-19: Justice System

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2021

At the beginning of the pandemic, we were guided by public health advice, and we took immediate and decisive action across prison, probation, youth justice and courts services, to implement a range of measures to respond. Our protection of those in prisons, through compartmentalisation, testing, the use of exceptional delivery models and probation services and the creation of Nightingale courts, alongside physical changes to courtrooms and increased video technology, helped to mitigate the severe impact of the pandemic.

I am grateful for the Lord Chancellor’s response. We all know the impact that the pandemic has had on life in our country, and I have seen for myself its impact on many communities who live, learn and work across Newport West. What discussions has he had with the Welsh Government about ensuring that those who need justice are able to get it in a timely manner?

The hon. Lady will be glad to know that I regularly engage with the Welsh Government, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, and Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service in Wales to ensure that the prison estate is safe, and the probation service is delivering. We have heard about the sobriety tags that have been piloted in Wales, and our courts are working well. I am glad that in Wales the management of cases has demonstrated that, now that there is no backlog. In particular, Newport Crown court was home to a multi-handed murder trial, which was dealt with successfully in recent weeks. A lot of good work is going on in Wales. Wales is leading the way, and I am proud of that.