05 July 2012
Helping to keep the CJS running smoothly
- A cross-agency working group is ensuring that measures are in place to deal with the impact of the Olympics and Paralympics on the Criminal Justice System (CJS). This includes contingencies to deal with a potential influx of Olympic offence cases, including those involving overseas visitors.
The group, led by HMCTS, has brought together justice system agencies and organisations such as the LSC, as well as members of the judiciary and defence practitioner representative bodies.
The measures listed below will be put in place in the London region but have been shared with other regions for consideration and possible implementation outside London.
Changes to charging centres and court sittings
Charging centres have been designated and court sittings adjusted in Olympic/Paralympic areas to avoid transport issues as much as possible.
Fast-tracking 'Olympic' cases
It has been agreed that HMCTS will fast-track magistrates' and Crown Court cases that have a direct connection with the games, e.g. involve spectators, athletes or occur at Olympic venues. More information about what constitutes an 'Olympic Fast-track Case' can be found in the Contingency Plan document which we link to at the end of this story.
Temporary arrangements for the legal aid processing of 'Olympic Fast-track Cases' will also be in place to minimise disruption.
All these arrangements have been discussed and agreed with The Law Society and the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association.
Additional duty solicitors
The LSC has arranged for additional duty solicitor cover during the peak 'red period' of 27 July to 12 August.
Please refer to the 'LSC Rota Coverage' document mentioned at the end of this story.
Other temporary legal provisions
Other temporary provisions for 'Olympic Fast-track Cases' include:
- relaxed fax / scanned evidential requirements
- relaxed requirements for obtaining a partner's signature (where the partner is not located nearby / in the same country)
- an expedited fail procedure
- an escalation route for evidential difficulties and
- an expedited referral route to the LSC for HMCTS.
The LSC has set up two Olympics hotlines for solicitors and HMCTS staff.
We would encourage you to read the documents and one-page guides which we link to at the end of this story before calling. They contain more information about provisions, evidence requirements and means assessments.
However, if you need to call the Olympic Hotline, please state: 'Olympic Fast-track Case'. You will be put through to a caseworker with the appropriate expertise.
The hotline numbers are:
- Nottingham 0115 908 4244
- Liverpool NCT 0151 242 5203
Contingency plans have been put in place to deal with specific incidents that could lead to a significant increase in crime work.
All agencies and organisations involved in the CJS are finalising a pack which will outline what they have each put in place for the Olympic/Paralymic games period.
This will be published before the games start and we will feature the pack in the next LSC Update.
More LSC information
We would encourage you to read the following documents, available on our Olympic contingency page.
- 2012 Olympics Legal Aid Contingency Planning: more information on the above and existing guidance
- Olympics Evidence Profile: a one-page table that outlines evidential requirements during the games period
- Olympics Ready Reckoner: a one-page document giving an indication of the likely outcome of a means assessment
- LSC Rota Coverage: outlining coverage over the Olympic 'red period', 27 July - 12 August