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Dickson: Justice system reforms to be welcomed

Alliance Justice Spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has said there is still work to do to bring the Justice system into the 21st century – as he welcomed the proposed changes within the Committal Reform Bill.

Speaking in the Assembly, Mr Dickson commended the work Justice Minister Naomi Long is taking forward, continuing to programme of reform begun by their Alliance colleague David Ford.

He said: “Committal reform has been on the agenda for some time and this bill will take great strides in speeding up justice, improving the experiences of victims in the system and ensure value for money for the taxpayer. The Covid-19 pandemic has only added strain to a system already vulnerable to delays, so this legislation is more important than ever.

“Criminal cases in Northern Ireland take significantly longer than in England and Wales – that cannot continue. We have Fresh Start Commitments to ensure we tackle this issue and I’m glad to see the Minister bring this forward as another piece of significant legislation under her watch.

“This Bill today addresses much of what has been holding up the Justice System, speeding up the process whilst ensuring the rights of all are respected, and in doing so, maintain and build vital confidence in our justice system and how it delivers for the people of Northern Ireland.”