The University of Hull has opened its doors as a ‘Nightingale Court’, joining the national effort to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.
The new site will provide an extra courtroom that will hear civil and family cases – providing additional capacity for more jury trials at Hull Combined Crown Court.
Temporary courts, known as ‘Nightingale Courts’, have been set up across the country to alleviate the pressure on courts and tribunals resulting from the pandemic – ensuring justice continues to be served.
Mark Mullaney, Assistant Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Hull, said: “Hosting a Nightingale Court on our campus is the latest in a series of steps taken by the University to support the UK’s response to COVID-19.
“This includes the mass testing of students to ensure their safe travel to and from the university, and at the start of the pandemic providing vital retraining and support for NHS staff. A team of engineers at the University also manufactured face shields which were donated to the NHS and frontline healthcare workers.
The move forms part of an additional £30m investment to deliver a 40 Nightingale court rooms and fund a range of measures to address the number of outstanding cases. It brings the total investment in such measures to more than £110m.
A further £337m announced in the recent Spending Review will support the Government’s crime agenda – delivering swift and effective justice to convict offenders, support victims, and protect the wider public.
Meanwhile, £76 million will be invested to further increase capacity in family courts and tribunals.
Chris Philp MP, Courts Minister, said: “I am grateful to the University of Hull for joining the national effort to reduce delays and deliver speedier justice for victims.
“Our actions are beginning to produce positive results – magistrates’ backlogs continue to fall and the number of cases being dealt with in the Crown Courts reached pre-pandemic levels in December.
“We are investing unprecedented amounts and pursuing every available option to drive this recovery further.”
Further sites in Staffordshire and Cirencester will open early later this month, bringing the total number of temporary court rooms set up nationwide to 40.
These form part of wider measures designed to keep the justice system moving and ensure the quickest possible recovery – including the recruitment of 1,600 more court staff, rolling out technology, and installing temporary jury rooms across the country to enable more trials to be heard safely.