back to article Closing courts to fling £700m at digital stand-ins will fail, MPs snarl at

MPs from across the political spectrum have attacked the government's plan to close a further 86 courts while investing £700m in a court “digitisation” plan which has been flagged as “high risk”. During the last Parliament the government closed 146 courts. It now has plans to close a further 86 courts and tribunals across …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    The future is a cloud-connected robot judge with a Californian accent finding you in contempt.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      The Future ...

      is Dredd

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Future ...

        The Future Dredd

        And there was me thinking the OP meant Judge Judy....

  2. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Magical thinking

    There is a big jump of faith between, "technology has made this more efficient so we need less of it" and, If we introduce technology it will be more efficient so we will need less of it.

    Pictures ££££££££££££ going down drain in one direction. And carried off by blokes in stripy T-shirts in bags marked "Swag" in another.

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Trial over the internet...

    How much does an hour of DDOS attack cost?

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    Totally barmy

    This was talked about a couple of times in El-Reg in 2014, one here. The Ministry of Justice is sending 65,000 jobs to India. This is simply stupid:

    a) Data protection. A lot of very sensitive information going overseas - what could possibly go wrong ?

    b) Loss of skills in the UK, helping another country get skills.

    c) Look at the numbers: save "£100m over the next few years" - that means 10 years. So, £10m a year.

    The cost - 65,000 jobs[**].

    £10m/65k = £154.

    So, MoJ is saving £154/year for every job lost to the UK economy. It might save MoJ, but UK Plc loses big time.

    An analogy would be: a plumber getting in another plumber to fix his bathroom tap as the other plumber has a B&Q discount card & so can buy the washer more cheaply - the job still ends up costing the householder plumber more.

    [**] That is jobs paid for by MoJ - there will be other jobs lost in: infrastructure suppliers, office cleaners, ...

  5. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Okay, who let the minister talk to the consultants without proper supervision?

    That's 50 points from Jellyfish House, and no puddings for a fortnight!

  6. JimmyPage Silver badge

    You have the laws you can afford ...

    that's it basically.

    Closing courts makes sense when you reduce the criminal code, not expand it.

    By the way, wasn't there a pledge sometime ago about "a new law in means an old one out" ?

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: a pledge sometime ago

      There were also pledges not to touch the NHS, to run a surplus by the end of the last Parliament, to enact new powers for Scotland etc...

      The only time a politician who "pledges" something actually goes through with it is if (s)he's polishing their furniture.

  7. Blofeld's Cat


    "... We need to create a modern and flexible Courts and Tribunals Service that is fit for the 21st century ... These reforms will increase access to justice by making it swifter, easier to use and more efficient ... "

    I Dredd to think where this is heading...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    I can answer one question....

    "..He called on justice minister Shailesh Vara to explain how the government intends to strengthen its technical, managerial and professional expertise."

    Easy, spend a couple of billion quid on consultants, who will then pass it over to one of a few fuck-ups, who will then outsource it to some 3rd party, who in turn will off-shore it to some data selling company, making it unfit for purpose.

    Meanwhile the goverment of the time (rememeber it will take a least a decade) will claim savings of 47p a year on the current set up

  9. nematoad Silver badge


    "...the estates disposal programme..."

    There I think we have the nub of it.

    Just another round of flogging off the nation's assets to cover the incompetence of the Chancellor.

    I reckon Napoleon was right, Britain is a nation of shop-keepers and most of them are on the Tory front bench.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Ah!

      There is nothing wrong with shop-keepers (at least most of them).

      There is much wrong with the front bench, most of whom have never had to work as hard as the average shop-keeper.

      And Napoleon did lose! (just to remind you).

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Ah!

      "Just another round of flogging off the nation's assets to cover the incompetence of the Chancellor."

      Yes, but which chancellor? The current one, the previous one or the one before that who thought that the best way to manage interest rates was to exclude a housing bubble from his inflation measurements?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    getting bored

    of MPs answering questions like someone who has phoned you up to sell you something.

    Most of us (well at least a good few) aren't stupid, and the nonsense PR bullshit is getting really tiring, politicians are a shower of bastards.

  11. Graham Marsden

    "essential reform of our courts and tribunals system...

    "...and to bring it up to modern-day standards"

    Translation: Flog it off to one of Call Me David's rich mates and leave the plebs at the mercy of a system which is rigged against them because they can no longer get Legal Aid or even afford a competant solictor :-(

    Meanwhile: "making pleas by mobile phones"? WTF? Sure, you leave your phone lying around, your mate picks it up, sees the message saying "Plead now" and, for a laugh, types in "I'm as guilty as sin and throw myself on the mercy of the Court..."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking forward to...

    ... the first report of a defendant appearing via "Skype" from a country without extradition.

  13. Malcolm Boura

    Is the real motive denying justice?

    There is a stripe of politician that believes that the police are always right, that the CPS never make a mistake, and that magistrates are completely free of all prejudice. Hence anything that makes defending against a charge even remotely possible is inherently wrong. I know a number of people who have defended successfully against ludicrous charges but the cost, risk and stress is enormous and that means that far too many people just give in. In one case the defendant had to start judicial review against the CPS before they would pay attention to what the defence solicitor was telling them. The charge was dropped.

    Consider a very minor offence, maximum penalty a small fine, perhaps £100. The cost of defending can easily exceed £10,000. Lose and lose it all, and pay a fine, and pay a surcharge, and pay court fee, and ... Win and you will probably be a few thousand out of pocket. No wonder so many innocent people just role over and plead guilty.

    1. Al fazed

      Re: Is the real motive denying justice?

      Not so funny that you say this,

      as not too long ago a friend of mine did exactly that, pled guilty to end the 18 months of the torture of being on reporting bail and not being able to contact his daughter.

      I looked at the "download" logs from Internet Explorer which the CPS were using as evidence of "uploading" illicit material. Even the defence lawyer didn't spot this one and when I pointed it out I was swiftly shown the door.

      The least funny thing about this is that the CPS evidence did show who had actually "downloaded" the video material in question - onto the machine held in evidence. Of course it was the machines owner as fingered in the logs, was not the person accused of "uploading" same file a few minutes later, whilst multitasking their mobe account at the same time.

      There was no evidence to show "uploading", like a log file.

      Not funny how there was no longer an in house IT forensics department for CPS to refer to and the only valid external IT Forensics firm was very prohibitively expensive and the process would be very very time consuming, etc.

      Result = capitulation.

      All legal parties paid handsomely and none the wiser I am sure of their IT foobar in a UK Crown Court.

      This world stinks of shit.

  14. Medical Cynic

    Another project to sign off without end-to-end testing?

  15. Mike Simmons

    Close UK Courts & Join TIPP

    Has anyone stopped to wonder if this is yet another UNDERHAND way for the UK Government to weaken and/or break the UK Legal System to enable the U.S.A. to force through its TIPP Plan to give American Corporations the Right to sue the UK Government if the Yanks do not like something our Duly Elected Government does. DEMOCRACY????? Forget it - we will all be Slaves to the USA. Just a minute I have read something like that in my History Books!

  16. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    You'd almost think there was some sort of plan.

    Closing courts

    Severely limiting access to legal aid.

    Introduce 10's of 1000's of new laws, mainly by statutory instrument so no parliamentarian reviews since Blair

    Massive increase in surveillance powers.

    Outsourcing as mush as possible and then some to commercial and overseas companies.

    Are we looking at a planned dictatorship by default, massive incompetence or are we way, way deeper in the financial shit than anyone would care to admit or even deeper than anyone can imagine?

  17. teebie

    "it is a decision that I am prepared to make when it is necessary to do so to support essential reform of our courts"


    Moving away from huge amounts of paper can be done without closing courts. Some would say that was the sensible way of doing things.

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