Libra, which will provide English and Welsh magistrates' courts with an integrated computer system, is slowly pushing forward with the rollout of infrastructure and office automation to two additional Magistrates Courts Committees (MCCs).
The first stage of the project to roll out the infrastructure and office automation systems now covers 32 groups. In May, the figure was 30.
The troubled project, which combines office infrastructure and a new casework system linking magistrates' courts, failed to meet its July 2001 deadline for software application delivery.
Rollout to all 42 Committees, covering about 400 courts, began in October 2000 and is due to be completed during the first half of next year.
Libra is currently being used by about two-thirds of all staff in the magistrates courts, around 8,500 out of 11,000 staff.
"The 33rd MCC started deployment today and we expect a couple more in August," said a Libra spokeswoman, adding that the rollout would be alongside additional improvements such as internet browsing.
But the second phase to provide a tailor-made software application for the magistrates courts to support case management and tracking, payment of fines and provide links to other criminal justice agencies, is where the controversy lies.
The Lord Chancellor's department explained that negotiations with Fujitsu Services (formerly ICL) over the contract are continuing, "but are expected to conclude shortly".
The department believes that the outcome of the discussions over IT systems "will ensure their earliest delivery and provide value for money for the taxpayer".
But costs have already escalated from £183m to £319m due to additional work requested by the Lord Chancellor's department .
The Government said last May that it would not spend any more money on the project.
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