The home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club is being transformed into a temporary court this week, to help deal with the backlog of cases due to the pandemic.
The all-seater stadium will swap referees with judges as it transformed into a ‘Nightingale Court’.
It will host two court rooms that will hear non-custodial criminal cases and be able to issue fines and community service orders.
Any cases deemed serious enough for time in prison will be sent back to a Crown Court for sentencing.
Cases will be heard in rooms beneath the terraces which are normally used for conferences. The venue will help to free up space at the nearby Crown Court for more jury trials – reducing delays and delivering speedier justice for people across the North West.
Courts Minister, Lord Wolfson QC, said:
This new Nightingale Court is in the heart of the local community and will help to deliver swifter justice for people across Bolton.
A Bolton Wanderers Football Club spokesperson said the club is "proud" to be once again supporting the local community during what has been a challenging 12 months.
What is a 'Nightingale Court'?
The move is part of a £113m government investment to support courts and tribunals during Covid. It includes recruiting 1,600 extra staff, investment in further technology, and on-site safety precautions such as plexiglass screens. This is on top of £142m being spent to speed up technological improvements and modernise courtrooms. The impact of these measures is already being seen.