Responding to reports on Twitter that Crown Courts across England & Wales were sitting empty on Monday, the Bar Council, which represents all barristers in England and Wales, has issued a statement. 

Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

"I warned last week that criminals would be rubbing their hands with glee at the news that the number of people prosecuted for crimes in England and Wales has fallen to a record low, despite a rise in the number of offences. This latest news, that so many Crown Courts are sitting empty, will come as a devastating blow to those victims of crime who are waiting for their cases to come to court or who are waiting for justice to be done to those who have admitted committing crimes against them.

 "Whilst I am encouraged by the news that the government intends to increase the number of serving police officers, funding must also be provided to ensure that those who are alleged to have committed crimes can be placed before a functioning court without delay. Justice delayed is justice denied, for all those involved in the criminal justice process. Courts should not be sitting idle but should be dispensing justice."