Nightingale Court opens up in a football stadium
Bolton Wanderers Football Club has become a temporary court set up in a joint national effort to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.
The new Nightingale court is part of government’s plan to ensure justice continues throughout the pandemic by serving the local community while providing vital financial boost for the Wanderers.
The £25 million all-seater University of Bolton stadium will host two courtrooms that will hear non-custodial criminal cases and be able to issue fines and community service orders. Any cases deemed serious enough for time in prison will be sent back to a Crown Court for sentencing.
HMCTS had vowed to open 60 Nightingale Courts by the end of March 2021, as they aim to clear the backlog of cases that need to be heard. Five new courtrooms were opened last month in London, Wolverhampton and Liverpool.
Courts Minister, Lord Wolfson QC, said:
“This new Nightingale court is in the heart of the local community and will help to deliver swifter justice for people across Bolton.
“Courts have been established in cathedrals, hotels, theatres, and now football stadiums to help us tackle the delays caused by the pandemic. This innovative approach is already increasing the caseload going through our courts, while pumping much-needed cash into businesses which have taken a financial hit over the last 12 months.”
A Bolton Wanderers Football Club spokesperson said:
“The club is pleased to support Bolton Crown Court by enabling the University of Bolton stadium to be used as a Nightingale court.
“As a versatile venue which is at the heart of Bolton, we are proud to be once again supporting our local community during what has been a challenging 12 months for all.”
The move is part of a £113m government investment to support courts and tribunals during coronavirus (COVID-19).