Committal hearings scrapped in Notts for swifter justice

Committal hearings at Worksop Magistrates’ Court have been abolished in an effort to speed up justice.

The court system in Notts is one of 29 areas around England and Wales where the hearings used to send cases to the crown court have been scrapped this week.

Getting rid of the hearings will free up magistrates courts to run more efficiently, according to government ministers who are keen to speed-up the judicial process and save money.

The hearings were abolished in 12 areas in June and will be phased out across the rest of England and Wales over the next year.

Nationally the changes will mean that around 60,000 fewer hearings will be needed each year.

Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green announced the measures. He said: “Abolishing committal hearings is another one of the steps we are taking to make justice swift and sure, and to ensure our courts run efficiently and effectively for victims, witnesses and the taxpayers whose money funds them.”

“The justice system needs continued improvement, and this announcement is an important step forward.”

Other changes being made to make to court system quicker include flexible court operating hours during evenings and weekends in almost 50 areas. More video links between courts, prisons and police stations are also being used.

Committal hearings for cases that are so serious they can only be dealt with at crown court, such as murder and rape, were abolished in 2001.

These current changes scrap committal hearings for so-called ‘either-way’ offences, which can be dealt with either at the magistrates’ or crown court, depending on the seriousness of each case.