Half of Nightingale Courts Set to Close in Weeks

The Ministry of Justice has announced it will close 11 of the temporary Nightingale courts created during the pandemic over the next few weeks, while a further 12 will remain open for another year in an effort to tackle the backlog. Latest figures show the crown court backlog was still hovering around 59,000 in December, though this is at least a fall of 2,000 since the peak in June 2021. Although the waiting time between a reported offence and a verdict is still longer than ever…

Even so, with the ending of all other Covid measures last week, the MoJ now think it’s the right time to make the call – especially now that courtroom capacity has returned to the pre-pandemic norm. Justice minister James Cartlidge said Nightingale courts were

“…a valuable weapon in the fight against the pandemic’s unprecedented impact on our courts, providing temporary extra capacity … we are beginning to see the backlog drop so victims can get the speedier justice they deserve“.

The jury’s out on that one…

mdi-timer 3 March 2022 @ 09:05 3 Mar 2022 @ 09:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Raab’s Department on a Critical Race Theory Social Justice Drive

Dominic Raab obviously had a cracking start to his new job last Wednesday. Just as he settled into his new office chair at the Ministry of Justice, one of the first items to arrive in his inbox was a polite reminder for all MoJ civil servants to brush up on their Critical Race Theory (CRT). Linking to an article that suggests “there is no single objective truth or reality”, and even criticises Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch for her “controversialviews on the subject, the round robin email recommended everyone give it a read because it might be “illuminating“. Useful stuff for a department currently grappling with a court backlog of over 60,000 cases…

Given Raab himself made headlines last year for refusing to kneel during the BLM protests because it was “a symbol of subjugation and subordination” – and a gesture “taken from the Game of Thrones” – Guido’s sure he poured over every dot and comma of Included.com’s helpful piece. Raab will want to roll-back on this poison emanating from his own Ministry of Justice public appointments division….

mdi-timer 20 September 2021 @ 11:10 20 Sep 2021 @ 11:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary Braces for Sacking

After Mark Sedwill’s sooner-than-expected departure from Downing Street yesterday, attention is turning to potential further mandarin overhauls instigated by from a bullish No. 10. The Ministry of Justice’s permanent secretary Sir Richard Heaton’s name was immediately floated.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee this afternoon, Heaton confirmed his contract is up for renewal next month after five years in the role, however claimed it is merely “speculation” whether his contract will or won’t be renewed. Guido suspects this is a brave public face from Sir Richard who knows in reality his fate is sealed…

The Permanent Secretary also threw civil service caution to the wind, saying there was under-investment in prison maintenance from 2010-17 and Britain is now “paying the consequences”. Guido spots this afternoon Heaton’s official Twitter account was quietly deleted. The behaviour of someone expecting to still have their job a month from now?

mdi-timer 29 June 2020 @ 16:10 29 Jun 2020 @ 16:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Buckland’s Musical Ministry Metamorphosis

Robert Buckland’s official No. 10 profile lists music as one of his interests, something he proved to the world in December during a gung-ho performance of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and last September with a rendition of Danny Boy for his constituents. Guido worries his love of music may be swiftly becoming a distraction from the day job however…

At the weekend a Linkedin listing for the job of “Head of Probation Communications” at the department was advertised as a role at the “Ministry of Sound”. While an MoJ source blamed the job agency used by the department, Guido can’t be sure Buckland isn’t leaving hints for a reshuffle switch to DCMS…

mdi-timer 3 June 2020 @ 13:45 3 Jun 2020 @ 13:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gauke Refuses to Join Calls to Ban Worboys From London

David Gauke was under more pressure in the Commons today as MPs queued up to ask why he isn’t doing more to make sure John Worboys is banned from Greater London, where his hundreds of victims live. The Justice Secretary refused to back calls for a Greater London exclusion zone, despite the MoJ engaging with the licence conditions process on a daily basis. Why would Gauke not do the obviously right thing and endorse victims’ calls for an exclusion zone? Yet again a desperately weak response from the government…

UPDATE: Guido understands Gauke wrote to the Probation Service two weeks ago to ask them to consider if it is appropriate to exclude Worboys from Greater London. Not the same as demanding he is banned from the capital…

mdi-timer 23 January 2018 @ 12:28 23 Jan 2018 @ 12:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
“Absolute Disgrace” Worboys Victims Not Consulted About Licence Conditions

Significant developments in the John Worboys story this afternoon. It has been revealed that the sex attacker’s victims have not yet been allowed to make representations to the Parole Board about his licence conditions, despite the meeting to finalise the conditions taking place tomorrow. Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which represented 11 of Worboys’ victims, is demanding to know why victims have received no notification of the meeting and insisting a ban is imposed on Worboys visiting Greater London. He has issued this extraordinarily damning statement accusing the criminal justice system of treating victims with “contempt“:

“It is unbelievable that Worboys’ victims have not been consulted on their attacker’s licence conditions when they are living in fear of his release. Considering the shambles of this sorry episode so far it is inexcusable that all victims have not been asked to make representations about his restrictions. Our clients already felt betrayed by the way they have been treated by the criminal justice system; they now feel like they are being treated with the utmost contempt. This is an absolute disgrace and we demand that all victims – those involved in the criminal trial and those who were not – are consulted before Worboys’ licence conditions are finalised.”

How can it be that victims have not yet been consulted on the conditions of Worboys’ licence? The Ministry of Justice is handling this spectacularly badly – they need to get a grip, it is in danger of blowing up into a national scandal…

UPDATE: A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said:

“The licence conditions for John Worboys have not been finalised, and he will not be released until victims have had an opportunity to make representations to the Parole Board on his licence conditions.”

mdi-timer 10 January 2018 @ 15:26 10 Jan 2018 @ 15:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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