Criminal Justice Backlog

On the 6th December 2020, the Sunday Telegraph reported that ‘Figures have revealed that nearly a quarter of a million people are waiting for their court cases to be heard in London alone. The extent of the backlog was revealed as mayor Sadiq Khan called on the Government to build a “large-scale, secure facility” to start clearing high-priority cases. Data from the Metropolitan police shows that the number of victims and witnesses due to attend court stands at 227,000. Officers have told the mayor’s policing and crime office of at least two incidents where victims have attempted suicide after being told that their trial was delayed. The details are in a letter from Mr Khan to the justice secretary, Robert Buckland, calling for urgent help to alleviate the backlog. It follows last month’s warning that criminal justice in the UK could “cease to function” in the next four years without reform, amid forecasts that the backlog of cases could rise to almost 200,000 by 2024’

Yakesh Tanna commented “Four weeks ago this article was published. Read the penultimate line, “criminal justice in the UK could cease to function in four years without reform”. That is an astonishing statement but not one that surprises me at all. The legal profession has been warning the government for a decade that the system is on its knees and COVID-19 has only worsened the situation. We must keep making representations to the government to invest in the system before it finally collapses and there is nothing that can be done.”