Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 18 May 2023.

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Photo of Paul Holmes Paul Holmes Conservative, Eastleigh

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to increase the capacity of the courts.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The outstanding Crown Court caseload has been falling since October. We have invested a significant amount of funding for the Criminal Justice System to help improve waiting times for victims of crime and reduce the outstanding Crown Court caseload.

We are recruiting up to 1,000 judges across all jurisdictions in 2023/24, last year removed the limit on sitting days in the Crown Court for the second financial year in a row, and recently announced the continued use of 24 Nightingale courtrooms into the 2023/24 financial year.

We have also significantly increased funding to improve waiting times in the civil and family courts and tribunals. This includes increasing funding to Cafcass by £8.4 million last financial year to deal with more open active cases.

To help maximise our available judicial capacity, we also introduced a virtual region pilot scheme in July to support civil and family courts in London and the South East. This allows deputy district judges from outside these regions to sit virtually in London and the South East so we can hear as many cases as possible.

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