Winchester Guildhall becomes a ‘Nightingale Court’

Guildhall Winchester will now be the site of a new regional Nightingale Court from 19 October through to June 2021.

The Guildhall was chosen because of its prominent city centre location and reputation as a civic hub with the layout of the building being ideal to adapt to a conventional court format while also allowing compliance with COVID-19 social distancing measures.

Nightingale Courts are being set up across the UK to manage a backlog of legal cases that have built up due to limited capacity in existing courts of law and the social distancing requirements now in place due to the pandemic.

Winchester City Council leader, Cllr Lucille Thompson said:

“One of our highest priorities at the moment is to help our high streets recover, and so I am delighted that HM Courts and Tribunals have signed an agreement with the City Council to use the Guildhall as a Nightingale Court for the next nine months.

“Not only will this help our local economy and businesses by driving up footfall and bringing people back to the centre, but it also ensures that one of our very special buildings is being made use of during these challenging times.”

Courts Minister, Chris Philp MP, said:

“I am grateful to the Guildhall for joining the national effort to reduce delays and deliver speedier justice for victims.

“This is the latest step in our tireless work with the judiciary and legal sector in pursuing every available option to ensure our courts recover as quickly as possible.”

The Guildhall Nightingale Court will hear civil cases which have been on hold since March with court sessions being held in the Bapsy Hall, King Charles Hall and Conference Chamber.