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Court Modernisation to Result in 6,500 Job Losses

Under the government’s drive to modernise the justice system, approximately 6,500 courthouse and backroom jobs will be cut. The government are also planning to modernise the legal system through online pleas and remote video hearings.

The job losses will take place between 2016 to 2022 and is part of the government reforms.

The lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon said:

“These reforms will deliver savings – a necessary condition for securing the financial support of the government – but they will transform the way we operate the system of justice for the benefit of the public and enhance the administration of justice.”

Under the single justice procedure, if the defendant pleads guilty online or in writing or fail to respond to the court, the case will be judged on the papers by a legal advisor and one magistrate. The decision and sentence will be recorded digitally. The procedure will only apply to summary, non-imprisonable offences where there is no identifiable victim.

The general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, Mark Serwotka, said:

“Our court system is in meltdown. They are kept from sinking by the hard work of the dedicated staff who keep them afloat in the face of budget cuts… Any further cuts will make their job impossible and those seeking to access justice will suffer as a consequence.”

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