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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Criminal courts get slower and slower

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The latest (25 June 2015) Criminal Court Statistics, which cover January to March 2015, shows just why the new Justice Secretary Michael Gove is so keen to reform the system. The legal process continues to get slower.

More delays than the daily commute

The latest (25 June 2015) Criminal Court Statistics, which cover January to March 2015, show just why the new Justice Secretary Michael Gove is so keen to reform the system.

The legal process continues to get slower. Here are the key findings:

  • The overall number of days from offence to completion of criminal proceedings increased from 304 days to 328 days between quarter 1 of 2013 and quarter 1 of 2015. Although the time spent at the magistrates’ courts has fallen substantially since the abolition of committals, from 26 days to 5 days, the time from receipt in the Crown Court to completion has increased, resulting in an overall increase to timeliness.
  • The average waiting time between the date of sending a case to the Crown Court and the start of the substantive hearing has increased for trial cases. Triable-either-way cases have seen an increase of 5.6 weeks in average waiting times when comparing quarter 1 of 2015 with quarter 1 of 2013 while indictable only cases have seen a 3.3 week increase over the same period.
  • The number of outstanding cases in magistrates’ courts increased 11% between the 1st quarter 2014 and the 1st quarter 2015
  • For cases dealt with in the magistrates’ courts during quarter 1 2015, the number of days from offence to completion increased from 148 to 156 days when compared with the same quarter in the previous year.
  • The only good news is that there was “a small decrease” in the number of outstanding cases in the Crown Court.

Tackling delays would provide more cost savings and a more just service to defendants and victims than the current approach of limiting legal aid.

 

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