Ministry of Justice rushes to fix network outage

Courts around the country have been unable to access information they need to hear cases

Gavel on Keyboard

The Ministry of Justice has apologised for outages that have caused an upset to the criminal justice system in the UK.

"Network issues" caused court hearings and cases to be delayed because jurors can't enrol in cases and witness statements are inaccessible after the government revealed its court system Wi-Fi system and email service had broken down around the country. 

Although there were rumours that the outage had been caused by an update to the Common Platform, which brings together data provided by the police, courts and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) last year, the Ministry of Justice explained that this wasn't the issue and it is instead investigating into a networking fault.

"We apologise to those who have been affected by the network issues that we have been experiencing over recent days. The urgent work we have been carrying out with our suppliers has led to significant improvements today, but this work is ongoing and we have contingency plans in place," the MoJ said in a statement.

"While services have continued to operate and alternative network access is now in place for most, we know how frustrating this is for anyone affected and we are disappointed that our suppliers haven't yet been able to resolve the network problems in full. We continue to work with them to return services to normal."

The Criminal Bar Association's chairman, Chris Henley QC blamed cuts to the Ministry of Justice budget, saying the government has failed to invest in the basics to prevent the system "juddering to a halt".

He noted that short-term cuts are having a long-term effect on the operational structure of the law system and outages like this are doing a "disservice to the victims of crime and their families who may have already suffered the costs of delays from an already overstretched, chronically underfunded, broken criminal justice system".

Some of the courts reporting problems included Leicester Crown Court, Highbury Magistrates Court, Southwark Crown Court and the Old Bailey.

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