Times are tight in government spending, even if the chancellor was able to open his chequebook to release funds last month to help the courts deal with the backlog of cases.

So any money-saving measures for the Ministry of Justice are still very welcome, and Obiter has a suggestion: stop losing prison keys.

A written answer to a parliamentary question revealed that more than £1.3m has been spent from the public purse since 2010 on new locks after keys have been lost or compromised.

For obvious reasons, a lost prison key requires a pretty urgent response, and locking mechanisms and keys have to be replaced immediately after the problem is discovered. Such costs are expected: the MoJ holds contingency funding for 'key or lock incidents' and the money is found from individual prison group directorate budgets.

Still, this must be one area where the department could save a few quid: might we suggest investing in some novelty keyrings?