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March courts IT failure caused eight adjournments



A failure of the Crown Court Digital Case System (DCS) in early March delayed eight cases, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Initial investigations by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), which runs the justice system in England and Wales, have found that what it called the DCS “slowdown” caused the adjournment of two cases in Manchester’s Crown Square court, two cases at Sheffield Crown Court, three cases at Leeds Crown Court and one case at Norwich Crown Court.

In a parliamentary written answer, junior justice minister Lucy Frazer said that six of the cases were relisted for 8 March with the other two for 14 March.

Courts were seriously affected in January by network problems that cut off a large number of sites. Earlier this month, HMCTS said it would take a year longer than previously planned to complete its courts modernisation programme, which it now expects to complete in 2023. The programme was criticised in 2018 by the Commons Public Accounts Committee for being over-ambitious on timing and weak on governance.

In January, the Commons Justice Committee launched an enquiry into court digitisation plans, and recently closed submissions for written evidence.


Image from iStock, Anthony Baggett

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