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MPs Call for End to Thousands in Fees for Crime Victims' Court Transcripts in England and Wales

MPs in England and Wales are calling on the government to eliminate fees for crime victims who want to obtain court transcripts.
Victims of serious sexual and violent offenses may face large expenses to access written records from their cases.

The parliamentarians argue that these fees act as a barrier to justice.

A rape victim, Juliana Terlizzi, was quoted £7,500 for a transcript from her 10-day crown court trial, with some cases reporting admin charges as high as £22,000.

Before a Lords vote next week on abolishing these fees, 31 MPs including Sir Peter Bottomley (Tory), Stella Creasy and John McDonnell (Labour), and Sarah Olney (Lib Dem) wrote to justice secretary Alex Chalk, urging provisions in the victims' bill to provide free access to court transcripts.

They noted that many victims do not attend trials and some are discouraged from doing so.

The text argues that without access to transcripts of court proceedings, victims have a hard time understanding how verdicts were reached, which can hinder their ability to accept the outcome.

Existing methods like judges' discretion or publishing sentence remarks in specific cases are deemed insufficient or too expensive.

This lack of transparency is described as a significant barrier to justice and a major hindrance to victims' recovery process.
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