Half the Nightingale Courts will close within weeks, it has been announced.

Nightingale Courts were temporary courts opened in hotels and conference suites to deal with the massive backlog in cases, which has worsened since Covid hit in 2020.

The courts due to be shut by the end of March 2022 are in Bolton, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Peterborough, Warwick and Winchester. Those at Birmingham, Chichester, Cirencester, Fleetwood, Leeds, Maidstone, Swansea, Telford and Wolverhampton will all remain open for a further year. In London, Monument and Petty France will close in the coming weeks, whilst Barbican, Croydon and Prospero House will stay open.

Meanwhile there are around 59,000 criminal trials waiting to go before a judge in the Crown Court and another 470,000 to be heard in the Magistrates’ Courts. The average time between reporting an offence and a verdict being given is now longer than ever.