Courts system outage saw eight cases adjourned

Written by Sam Trendall on 19 March 2019 in News

Hearings at courts in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, and Norwich were affected 

An outage of the Digital Case System (DCS) platform used by HM Courts and Tribunals Service saw eight hearings adjourned across four courts.

The problems occurred during the week commencing 4 March. In a written parliamentary statement, Lucy Frazer, a minister at the Ministry of Justice, said that “initial investigations” by HMTCS had found that a total of cases of eight cases were postponed as a result of the outage.

Two of these were hearings were being held at Sheffield Crown Court, while another two cases at the Crown Square Court in Manchester were also affected. Three cases at Leeds Crown Court and one at Norwich Crown Court were adjourned on account of the IT failure, Frazer said.

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Of the eight hearings postponed, six were rescheduled to take place on 8 March, with the other two recommencing of 14 March.

The DCS outage comes less than six weeks after “major network issues” lasting more than a week caused disruption to courts throughout the country. All 362 courts across England and Wales were affected by the problems, which saw a large swathe of court workers unable to access core systems. Even after a week of investigation and remediation, one in four courts workers were still locked out.

The root cause of those problem has not been specified, but the MoJ said it was not hit by a cyberattack, nor did it lose any data. The issues were investigated by the department alongside key tech suppliers Atos and Microsoft.

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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