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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

Latest figures reveal court backlog persists

Latest figures reveal court backlog persists


The Law Society has urged the government to invest further in the justice system

Recently-released court backlog figures for October 2021 have shown backlogs continue to persist in the courts.

The figures report 59,343 outstanding cases in the Crown Court and 368,375 outstanding magistrates’ court cases.

Law Society president, I. Stephanie Boyce, commented: “Some trials are being delayed until 2023, meaning a traumatised victim can be left waiting years to see their assailant locked up, while an innocent defendant can find their life in limbo while they wait to clear their name”.

She added: “The backlog has been exacerbated by the pandemic but is the result of years of underfunding and cuts including court closures, caps on judicial sitting days and a lack of funding of legal aid”.

Boyce urged the government to invest “across the whole of the criminal justice system to provide the capacity to tackle the backlogs in a meaningful way”.

“With Plan B coming into force, we are pleased to see HM Courts and Tribunals Service plan to keep the courts open and running, as long as safety measures are followed to minimise the risk to our members and other court users and avoid Covid outbreaks which would slow efforts to tackle the caseload”, said Boyce.