The new powers are aimed at easing pressure on the crown courts
The government has announced magistrates will have their sentencing powers increased in England and Wales to relieve pressure on the crown courts and tackle the judicial backlog. According to the government, the changes will come into force “in the coming months”.
Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, confirmed magistrates would now have the power to hand down prison sentences of up to 12 months – double the current maximum six-month sentence. The government estimates this will free up an estimated 2,000 extra days of crown court time annually.
Proper training will need to be completed by magistrates before the change can come into effect, the government con...