Thousands of court cases were disrupted or delayed across England and Wales last week due to an IT meltdown at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).
A crash of the court service’s main computer system meant uncertainty and worry for people waiting to appear in court as cases were delayed.
It also made it nearly impossible for people to contact the Crown Prosecution Service, with emails unanswered and phone lines reportedly down.
The crash exposed a court service straining under the weight of years of cuts.
Data published on Monday showed that more than half of all magistrates’ courts have closed since 2010.
The closures mean some people now have to travel distances of up to 50 miles to attend court. And the situation seems set to get worse as the MOJ pushes ahead with plans to move more services from courts to large “contact centres”.
The PCS union has opposed the plan and is in dispute with the MOJ.
An MOJ source told Socialist Worker that those who oppose the cuts “are feeling vindicated” by the chaos that the IT crash has exposed.
“If you underfund and under resource a service long enough the cracks will start to show,” they said.