A second IT failure in just a few weeks has caused trials to be delayed and left lawyers unable to access vital case documents.
The Crown Court Digital Case System (CCDCS), on which the papers on cases are now hosted, has been faulty for most of today and also malfunctioned yesterday.
A source at the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) told the Gazette one of its members had a trial adjourned this morning at Snaresbrook Crown Court. The barrister was left ‘livid’ as her afternoon trip to see a client in prison for preparation for another trial cannot happen as all the key documents are on the CCDCS system.
The CBA said the Central Criminal Court was known to be having problems as were courts in Sheffield, Carlisle, Nottingham, Exeter and Norwich.
Another barrister told the Gazette there were ‘headaches’ at Leicester Crown Court yesterday and ‘only an intermittent service’ today.
Chris Henley QC, chair of the CBA, said: 'Barristers and judges are growing very tired of cases being disrupted because of inadequate technological infrastructure. Our system continues to crumble.'
HM Courts & Tribunals Service said it was aware that some users are experiencing issues and that it is working hard to fix the problem. It said court Wi-Fi is unaffected. ‘Users are being asked to restart CCDCS as work continues to fully resolve the problem,’ HMCTS said.
In January, courts were thrown into chaos as major disruption affected multiple Ministry of Justice IT systems. Lawyers could not sign into the Ministry of Justice’s XHIBIT system, an online service that logs their attendance so they can get paid. The CCDCS was also faulty.
On Tuesday, HMCTS said it had put the completion date for its court modernisation programme back by a year. The government said the revised proposed finish date of the £1bn project will now be 2023.