back to article Nationwide UK court IT failure farce 'not the result of a cyber attack' – Justice Ministry

The Ministry of Justice has said a data centre outage was responsible for the widespread collapse of the UK's civil and criminal court IT infrastructure over the past few days. In a statement to Parliament today, justice minister Lucy Frazer pinned the fault on Atos and Microsoft, saying there had been an "infrastructure …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

    And what about "detaining innocents unlawfully" ?

    Eventually a judge will lose patience and refuse to hear a case - they've gotten close already.

    1. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

      That's exactly my first thought too!

      What does it say that they're more interested in not freeing the crims than not jailing the innocent?

      1. John Mangan

        Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

        TBF, although the priority should be not jailing the innocent you just know that the Daily Mail and their ilk would love the 'criminals run free' terrorising the land slant and would put far more words on the page than for an 'innocent Billy spent the night in the cells" story.

        On the other hand, this could have given them the chance to blow both horns simultaneously without any apparent self-awareness of their own hypocrisy.

        1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

          Anybody who writes summary about “daily mail” readers is probably a hippcite and venture signaller read of a similar by its dumbness “Guardian”. Just two sides of the same coin.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

            "Anybody who writes summary about “daily mail” readers is probably a hippcite and venture signaller read of a similar by its dumbness “Guardian”. "

            I find myself confused by the terms "hippcite" and "venture signaller". Could you explain them please?

          2. Kane Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

            'Anybody who writes summary about “daily mail” readers is probably a hippcite and venture signaller read of a similar by its dumbness “Guardian”. Just two sides of the same coin.'

            I've already used this, once in the last week, but here goes...

            I find your lack of punctuation disturbing.

            1. oldfartuk

              Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

              Ah, the last resort of the idiot wiht no valid response - attack the spelling, attack the typing, attack the grammar. Such characteristics not only demonstrate the intellectrual dwarfism of such a poster, but are the reason we have mems about 'Grammar Nazis'. As if it mattered on an online rag comment section. Get a life.

              1. Cuddles Silver badge

                Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

                "Such characteristics not only demonstrate the intellectrual dwarfism of such a poster, but are the reason we have mems"

                I find myself confused by the terms "intellectrual" and "mems". Could you explain them please?

                1. rmason

                  Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

                  He forgot to go AC that time too, marvelous stuff.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

                    "He forgot to go AC that time too, marvelous stuff."

                    Different poster.

              2. HieronymusBloggs

                Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

                "Ah, the last resort of the idiot wiht no valid response"

                Well, you have to admit that someone casting aspersions on the "dumbness" of others in a post employing such badly mangled English has some amusement value.

              3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

                "Ah, the last resort of the idiot wiht no valid response - attack the spelling, attack the typing, attack the grammar."

                I suspect you may have missed the point. Politicians in general, and Trump in particular, are masters of saying one thing which has an "obvious" meaning to the general populace, and then later, sometimes within minutes, claiming, often quite rightly, that what they said meant something else, similar but less plausible, because they were deliberately imprecise in the wording and meaning of the original statement.

                If you can't manage to stem the red rage while typing, then you will accidental (or deliberately?) end up being ambiguous because your grammar and spelling all go to pot.

    2. Tom Paine

      Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

      No British ljudge has "gotten" close to anything, because it isn't a word.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

        Muphry's Law: "If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written."

      2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

        Actually, it is. And an English one.

        Past participle of "[to] get".

        Just that England/UK itself stopped using it a few centuries ago. Aboutttttt the time America was first settled by them. The Murrcan language today still has words, grammar, and pronunciation which were standard at that time, transported to America then sorta "frozen", which have since fallen out of usage in Britain.

        Given your chosen monicker, I find it amusing you were unaware of that.

      3. Avatar of They
        Facepalm

        Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

        https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/gotten

        Appears to be a word in the dictionary.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

      "wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?"

      The defendant does not become a prisoner until convicted. Ergo, if a court is unable to try the defendant, they are never in a position to free a prisoner. Even if said defendant was caught in possession of other peoples property, in a dwelling that they were not lawfully allowed to enter and, when caught by the Police in said premises were heard to say "you caught me fair and square Gov".

      In other words, we were unable to provide Justice and released the defendant but it's not our fault. Even though it is collectively our departments fault. Only we make decisions to ensure no one is ever responsible for decisions. In case they go wrong.

      "And what about "detaining innocents unlawfully" ?"

      The defendant maybe guilty. Or they maybe innocent... If we can't try them, they are presumed innocent. And free to go. Yes......the victim will have to pay damages for getting their blood on your expensive trainers. No....I'm not suggesting you were giving the victim a good kicking....

      1. HieronymusBloggs

        Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

        "The defendant does not become a prisoner until convicted."

        That's not strictly true. A suspect may be held in prison on remand while awaiting a trial. In serious cases this can be for months. The present debacle could cause a trial to be rescheduled, meaning further time spent in prison by a potentially innocent person.

  2. iron Silver badge

    > suppliers "haven't yet been able to resolve the network problem in full"

    > expected to be "fully operational" tomorrow morning,

    If they haven't been able to fully resolve the network problem how can everything be expected to be fully operational tomorrow morning?

    Pick one lie and stick to it Lucy, makes it slightly harder to spot.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      It means that they've sent Fred to the nearest PC World to buy a replacement switch and they're expecting him back just as soon as he's worked out how to turn the sat-nav back on.

      Or, less tongue-in-cheek, they've identified the problem and have worked out what they need to do to resolve it but that takes time and will happen overnight.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Why do you think their motto is, “Justice? We don’t give Atos.”

  3. MGJ

    UK?

    This is the MoJ. Not Scotland. So, say England and Wales if that is what you mean. (Although post Brexit a United Kingdom of England and Wales looks increasingly possible.)

    Interesting fact: XHIBIT was originally designed to show a minister coming for a visit something, anything working in a court that looked like IT. There's a whole series of Dilbert cartoons that appeared inspired by the tales around it.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

      Re: UK?

      Interesting fact: XHIBIT was originally designed to show a minister coming for a visit something, anything working in a court that looked like IT. There's a whole series of Dilbert cartoons that appeared inspired by the tales around it.

      Really? I thought it was designed to Pimp My Ride™

    2. robmcd85
      Black Helicopters

      Re: UK?

      CJSM is used in Scotland too. So not just E&W.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK?

        Indeed, at least for the Employment tribunals. I know because my brother was supposed to be sitting in Scotland later this week, but they have cancelled now as the system seems to be running and the cases he was due to hear have settled. But till this afternoon he didn't know that because the emails from ACAS confirm the cases had settled had not arrived!

        Mind you the people running the system are incompetent morons by all accounts, and even when running the system is creaking at the seems.

    3. Joel 1
      Headmaster

      Re: UK?

      >Although post Brexit a United Kingdom of England and Wales looks increasingly possible

      no, not possible - Wales is a principality, not a kingdom, so therefore you can't have a United Kingdom of one kingdom. The kingdoms that are united are England, Scotland and Ireland (which I suppose you can maintain as the kingdom being Northern Ireland, as that is the only part with a monarch). If Scotland and Ireland go their own way, we will be left with the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Scotland, and the Kingdom of Ireland (assuming they don't join the republic).

  4. Flywheel Silver badge
    Unhappy

    CPS

    As I understand it, the Crown Prosecution Service doesn't need an IT outage to cause paralysis. Just saying...

    1. theblackhand

      Re: CPS

      It's like clapping.

      Once you start you never actually stop - it's just the period between claps that alters.

      With the CPS sometimes the period is measured in days, weeks, months, years or decades. But there is still movement. Never paralysis.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

    A few years back, there were headlines as a judge refused to hear a load of cases which resulted in prisoners having to be freed. (I think it was a series of remand hearings in London).

    The CPS had managed to not send the correct paperwork and despite giving them a loooooot of leeway (i.e. if a defence solicitor had tried it on, they'd have been told to jog on) they managed to not produce it so he had to act without evidence - effectively throwing out all the cases.

    Mentioned on these pages before, but the Secret Barrister has blogged about issues like this and warned that given the current trajectory, a very serious case will be thrown out. And it's worth noting that "prosecution incompetence" wasn't one of the situations where double-jeopardy could be removed.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

      Nah. The criminal justice system is run by and for the State. No judge is going to upset the applecart by putting the CPS on the same level playing field as a defendant.

      1. jabuzz

        Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

        Then you don't know many Judges. The Judges are highly independent of the executive and legislative branches of the state, and have been that way since Henry II reign.

        1. MonkeyCee

          Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

          "The Judges are highly independent of the executive and legislative branches of the state"

          But they are still part of the state. The classical definition is executive, legislative and judicial, with all three being (somewhat) independent.

          The executive usually has some power of clemency, being able to pardon certain offences, effectively overruling the judiciary.

          1. dogcatcher

            Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

            I don't think that Her Majesty would take kindly to being included in the executive. "Pardon" can be the royal prerogative of mercy, or by Order in Council on the advice of the Privy Council, or it can be exercised by Act of Parliament (the legislative).

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

            "effectively overruling the judiciary."

            Only in one direction. Officially. Internment without trial has been tried a few times, presumably mostly by those who didn't bother to find out what went wrong last time.

        2. oldfartuk

          Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

          No they are,nt not any more. Most judges are now fully paid up members of the Global elite cartel, and there to implement the Cultural Marxist nonsense devised by the idiots at the EU, ECJ and ECHR.

      2. oldfartuk

        Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

        Oh make no mistake, the UK criminal Justice system is a level playing field only if you consider aplaying field on the north face of the Eiger 'level'. Everyone involved on the state side is allowed to abuse and ignore the rules. Police abuse bail rules, there's a not insignificant number of people who can witness being kept 'on bail' for up to FIVE years while Plod bumbles around trying to cook up a case. The CPS was formed because the police used to conduct there own prosecutions, but there was such an horrendous cockup in several high level fraud cases the toys were taken away from them, and a new'independant' CPS was formed....employing exactly the same dismal incompetants that the police had used, so nothing changed. The court allows the CPS to produce evidience at illegally short notice, submit papers too late, add and subtreact charges midway during a trial (and thus no chance to prepare a defence) and all sorts of stuff the defence would get jumped on for if they tried such tricks. Even Legal Aid is now nothign more than a trap - you coudl fight 100 charges in court, but lose just one of the smallest charges in that lot you get stuck for the entire cost, Legal Aid will come after yoru house, even though the other 99 charges were cooked up nonsense. Justice in the UK is only for those who can afford it.

  6. devTrail

    No local option

    So, it is clear that the whole system is designed in such a way that no PC can work on local system and synchronize later.

    Even though PCs have become really powerful people keep designing system with the mainframe concept.

    1. John Miles

      Re: designing system

      Designing seems a strong word for things less structured and appealing than load of spaghetti dumped into a pile of brown stuff that come out of a cow's backside ;)

    2. HieronymusBloggs

      Re: No local option

      "Even though PCs have become really powerful"

      They've always had the power to arrest people.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why o why....

    Are we taking a system which has worked "perfectly well" for 300+ years, and within an incredibly short timescale trying to force it to become digital?

    What benefits are there and what does it achieve?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Why o why....

      Quote

      What benefits are there and what does it achieve?

      Speed, and case notes freely available to all involved.

      In reality, a couple of ex-ministers involved in it on the board of ATOS, and a fat wad of cash to m$ so that current ministers get a seat on the board..... alledgedly.

      End users... who cares...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why o why....

      "perfectly well"

      I get the impression you've not spent much time hanging about courts waiting for them to get themselves in order. Or taken along a few copies of a statement the prosecution promised to give to the defence but you knew that for whatever reason that wouldn't happen.

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Why o why....

      What benefits are there and what does it achieve?

      Pop down to Chancery Lane and count the "trolley dollies" hauling box after box of paperwork around then tell me that's efficient. Or secure.

  8. verno
    WTF?

    Magic WiFi?

    Unless their definition of being able to work at all is actually being able to access Facebook how would WiFi make a difference? Also if it did why not pit a switch on the end of the cable run instead of an AP?

    Matt

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Magic WiFi?

      Magic WiFi using a VPN over the internet to connect in to a corporate network that isn't affected?

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Joke

    "It's not a cyber attack"

    They've just exceeded the row limit in the Access database running this PoS.*

    *AFAIK the repeated efforts to bring the UK courts system into the 1990's has been ongoing for most of the last 2 decades.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: "It's not a cyber attack"

      reminds me of that wonderful Pratchett moment, when the Chancellor is being shown some shiny new fandangled innovation by the tech.boys: [badly paraphrased 'cos I read it maybe 20yrs ago]

      .

      "Wonderful! This will let the university proudly lead the way when we enter the Century of the Fruitbat!"

      __"Errr... it IS the Century of the Fruitbat."

      "Well then, it's high time we entered it, no?"

  10. tony2heads

    Hanlon's razor

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity

    1. theblackhand

      Re: Hanlon's razor

      Or the outsourcer's addendum to Hanlon's razor

      Never attribute to malice a screw up which can only really be achieved by a team of idiots brought together by an outsourcing agreement....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Definitely incompetence

    Not fully fixed either and has been going on for some time.

  12. Giovani Tapini

    Article talks about crubling courts

    In my area they are looking at closing the local, recently and expensively built court to "save money" in favour of the crumbling buildings it was intended to replace.

    Sounds like the same strategy applies to their IT!

  13. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    It's ATOS

    ...so long as a connection can be made, however poor and slow, then it's "fit for work". Email arrived? "Yes, but took 3 weeks to arrive". ATOS: So the email did actually arrive? OK, fit for work. Next!

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