These ‘Nightingale Courts’ have been set up to alleviate the pressure on the justice system caused by the coronavirus pandemic. These temporary courts will begin hearing cases in order to tackle the number of cases outstanding due to the outbreak.
The new courts will cover civil, family and tribunals work as well as non-custodial crime cases, freeing up room in existing courts to hear other cases.
The Knights’ Chamber within the Visitor Centre at 25 Minster Precincts is one venue chosen in England and Wales, with others including the Ministry of Justice’s headquarters in London, Cloth Hall Court in Leeds and East Pallant House in Chichester. More locations will be announced in due course. The arrangements to use the Knights’ Chamber were confirmed on Friday, July 17.
The Dean of Peterborough, the Very Revd Chris Dalliston, said: “We are proud that the Knights’ Chamber is among the first venues to be selected by the Ministry of Justice as a Nightingale Court, and glad that we are able to help support this critically important work. The 13th century building has served many purposes in its time and this will add another layer to its long history.
“Attending court can be a very anxious time for people and we hope that some of those who come might also find a moment of peace and tranquillity in the Cathedral, whilst they are here.”
It is expected that the court will operate in Peterborough from mid-August 2020 until February 2021.