Responding to comments by Justice Minister Chris Philp in the House of Commons today, Chair of the Bar Council, Amanda Pinto QC, said:
“It is staggering to see justice used as a political football. Politicians squabbling over the disgraceful backlog in the criminal courts is of no use to the public and has got to stop. The government should concentrate on improving the whole system for victims, witnesses and those accused of crime, and not on one-upmanship in a game of diminishing returns.
“Despite significant efforts to get the Crown Courts running again, the number of outstanding cases has grown from 43,676 this July to 46,467 at the end of August. It’s a bit early for the Government to be patting itself on the back for clearing a backlog that is still rising, irrespective of what was happening a decade ago. 2010 was when the new government of the day introduced the crippling cuts to our justice system, which resulted in the backlog being over 37,000 in 2019, long before Covid-19 ground justice to a halt.
“On the front page of its Recovery Plan the Government states: ‘Justice matters’. If it means it, it should stop trying to score political points and invest properly in our whole justice system to avoid yet more cases piling up and access to justice shrinking even further.”