15 September 2016

Truss gives go-ahead to digital criminal courts

Lord Chancellor Liz Truss has today backed a £1 billion programme to extend online courts to criminal offences.

By Victoria Basham

Maksim Kabakou

A paper entitled Transforming Our Justice System published by the Ministry of Justice and HM Judiciary today sets out plans for digital processes in every court and tribunal in England and Wales.

Online magistrates' courts will enable defendants in less serious cases to plead guilty online, with defendants able to log on to see the evidence against them before entering a plea. Should they plead guilty, they will be given the choice of whether to accept the conviction and penalty and then pay the fine online. Those who do not wish to accept the fine due to mitigating circumstances or insufficient means can choose to have that considered by a magistrate.

Concluded more quickly

According to the Ministry of Justice, the process enables defendants to conclude their case faster and with greater certainty, and means courts and magistrates and can focus their resources where they are needed most.  

Ms Truss told the Law Society Gazette: ‘We have the tools and the technology to cut unnecessary paperwork, to deliver swifter justice and to make the experience more straightforward.’

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