Computers fail in courts across England as judges and CPS struggle to access vital case information

Computers fail in courts across England as judges and CPS struggle to access vital case information

Court computer systems have been failing across England as judges and the Crown Prosecution Service struggle to access vital case information held digitally.

The Ministry of Justice has apologised for a failure to a number of its computer systems following reports clerks were unable to access the court’s central management systems this morning.

The Common Platform programme, a shared system between the police, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service and the Crown Prosecution Service, went down limiting access to documents such as witness statements that had not been downloaded in advance.

Part of the Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service’s £1 billion upgrade programme announced last June, the Common Platform was implemented to improve court services and adapt to modern ways of working through new technology.

“There’s lot of cases being delayed but some people are getting on with it with a Blitz spirit… there’s only so much you can do without the information” said Barrister Andrew Keogh, who runs the website Crime Line.

He added: “There’s a lot of money going into this… you would expect a shadow server to pop up.”

The Criminal Justice Secure eMail system (CJSM), a network used by judges and criminal barristers, was also compromised last week leaving 75,000 account holders unable to access their emails and prepare for trials, but according to the Ministry of Justice, 40,000 users’ accounts are now back to normal. 

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