Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Public spending review: impact on the Justice system (1): Court closures and investment in IT

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The long awaited announcement that there would be significant investment in prisons and also in the IT infrastructure for the Courts and Tribunals service, paid for by selling existing old prisons and little used court buildings, was made by the Chancellor of the Excehquer in the Autumn Statement and Spending Review, announced on 25 November 2015.

More specifically, the Ministry of Justice website notes:
On prisons

£1.3 billion will be invested to reform and modernise the prison estate to make it even more efficient, safer and focused on supporting prisoner rehabilitation. The government will build 9 new, modern prisons – 5 of which will open this Parliament – with better education facilities and other rehabilitative services, while selling ageing, inefficient prisons on prime real estate to free up land for new homes.

By investing in the prison estate, the government will reduce running costs in prisons by £80 million a year when the reforms are complete. New investment will also fund video conference centres, allowing up to 90,000 cases to be heard from prison instead of court, and will deliver more safety improvements in prisons, including body scanners and mobile phone blocking technology.

The Government states its hope that these reforms will reduce reoffending through more effective rehabilitation, and will reduce the cost of transporting prisoners between courts and prisons, stamp out the organisation of crime from within prisons, and stem the availability of drugs and other illicit substances.

The Government also states that these developments will build on the probation reforms undertaken in the last Parliament, which will reduce the costs of the system and reinvest them into extending probation support to 45,000 short-sentence offenders for the first time, to tackle reoffending.


On courts and tribunals

Over £700 million will be invested to fully digitise the courts and create a more modern estate. This will generate savings to the taxpayer of approximately £200 million a year from 2019-20. The government will also look at changes to court fees as it continues to put the courts on a more sustainable financial footing.

The text of the statement and other documents may be accessed at

The impact on the Ministry of Justice is at


Written by lwtmp

November 30, 2015 at 11:06 am

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