'Swifter justice' after court overhaul in Coventry

By Matthew Bates Monday 05 November 2012 Updated: 07/11 12:17

COVENTRY'S court system has been overhauled in a shake-up of the justice system.

Committal hearings, the first stage in the court process, have been scrapped in a trial from today.

The city is one of 29 areas where the short hearings will be abolished in a bid to speed up the justice process in England and Wales.

Justice minister Damian Green announced the change, which he said would see cases cut shorter.

Committal hearings are usually used to transfer a case from magistrates to Crown Court, where more serious cases are dealt with.

The change, phased in nationally next year, means 60,000 fewer hearings will be heard across the country.

Mr Green said: "Abolishing committal hearings is another one of the steps we are taking to make justice swift and sure, and to ensure our courts run efficiently and effectively for victims, witnesses and the taxpayers whose money funds them.

"The justice system needs continued improvement, and this announcement is an important step forward."

Other changes include introducing flexible court operating hours during evenings and weekends in around 50 areas and increasing the use of video links between courts, prisons and police stations.

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