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Theatres and hotels around the country will be turned into makeshift courts to deal with the backlog of family cases made worse by the Coronavirus lockdown, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.
The so-called Nightingale Courts, which take their name from the Nightingale hospitals set up by the government during the pandemic to support hospitals taking in COVID-19 patients, will open on 28 September in Salford, York, and Middlesborough.
The Nightingale hospitals were closed down after it was revealed that they had admitted very few patients to their wards.
Five more “pop-up courts” (our term), are due to be launched in Bristol, Chester, Cirencester, Liverpool and Winchester.
It is estimated that about half a million cases are still waiting to be heard in England and Wales.
The Hilton hotel in York and the Jury’s Inn in Middlesbrough have been listed to hear family cases.
The MOJ said the total number of pop-up courts now stood at 17, and offered 32 court rooms. Open sites are believed to be operating at 80% capacity, higher than the average court before lockdown.
The government said it would add more technology inside the temporary courts, and install plastic screens for cases which require a jury.