Minister reveals that 362 HMCTS sites were ‘intermittently’ impacted by loss of network access
The network and IT disruption suffered last week by the Ministry of Justice impacted all 362 of HM Courts and Tribunals sites across England and Wales.
For the whole of last week, the MoJ suffered problems affecting connectivity to networks and IT systems. As of a public statement issued by the department last Tuesday – after several days of work tackling the issues – one in four courts staff were still without access to core IT systems.
Access was restored across the board by the end of last week, but the MoJ said on Friday that “it will take time for all aspects of the service to fully return to normal, as there is a backlog of work created by the disruption”.
It has now emerged that all 362 courts and tribunal sites throughout England and Wales were “intermittently affected” by the connectivity problems, according to a written parliamentary statement from MoJ minister Lucy Frazer.
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“I want to apologise to those who were affected by the intermittent disruption last week. Services continued to operate, and court hearings continued, but I know how frustrating this was for anyone affected,” she said. “I am very grateful to HM Courts and Tribunals staff who put in place contingency plans to make sure trials went ahead as planned and for staff who have worked tirelessly and around the clock to resolve these issues alongside our suppliers.”
No cause of the disruption has yet been identified, but the issues were not the result of a cyberattack, nor were they caused by the ongoing £1bn courts digitisation programme, according to the MoJ. The department is working with major tech suppliers Atos and Microsoft to ascertain the source of the problems, and also to “ensure ongoing stability across the network”.
On Friday the department said that “the issues did not lead to detaining defendants or freeing criminals unlawfully”.