Regulation & Government

‘Super courtroom’ opens in Loughborough

According to the Ministry of Justice, £2.7m has been spent to revamp Loughborough Magistrates’ Court to create a space that is ‘much larger than a usual courtroom’, allowing up to an extra 250 cases a year to be heard across England and Wales.

A new ‘super courtroom’ has opened in Loughborough to allow victims, defendants and witnesses to receive “faster access” to justice, and for more gang trials to be heard in Loughborough, the Ministry of Justice announced.

The super courtroom within Loughborough Magistrates’ Court will act as an annex of Leicester Crown Court, and its cases will appear on the court list for the Leicester Crown Court. 

According to the Ministry of Justice, £2.7m has been spent to revamp Loughborough Magistrates’ Court to create a space that is “much larger than a usual courtroom”. 

The Loughborough super courtroom will host trials for offences that have a large number of defendants, including county lines drug trafficking, murders, and money laundering.

Additionally, ‘multi-hander’ cases, which involve three or more defendants and have reportedly accounted for almost a fifth of all trials waiting to be heard in mid-October, have “built up during the pandemic as they have been harder to hear with social distancing measures in place”.

The Ministry said the super courtroom will “create space to hear these trials” and free up capacity elsewhere in the courts system, allowing up to an extra 250 cases a year to be heard across England and Wales.

Additionally, it allows vulnerable witnesses and victims to relay their evidence from outside the courtroom, which the Ministry said will “reduce the distress” caused by being in the same room as the defendants.

The new courtroom is the latest step in a national effort to tackle the impact of the pandemic on the justice system. This comes as £1bn has been allocated to the Ministry of Justice in the Spending Review to boost capacity and accelerate post-pandemic recovery. 

The Ministry of Justice said that nearly half of this will help deliver the “swift access to justice that victims deserve” by improving waiting times and reducing court backlogs.

This follows the opening of the first super courtroom which launched in Manchester on 10 September 2021. 

Dominic Raab, deputy prime minister and justice secretary, said: “This new super courtroom will be an important asset as we start to reduce the backlog. It will free up space elsewhere in our court estate – allowing us to hear up to 250 extra cases every year.

“It forms part of our broader plan to build back better from the pandemic, investing £500 million to reduce waiting times and speed up the delivery of justice for victims.”

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