Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said: “Measures announced in the Chancellor’s Budget to tackle youth crime and provide better support for victims, especially of domestic abuse, are a positive step, but they only tackle part of the problem. A fragmented approach to repairing the justice system is not the answer. We have been calling for 10 key areas of investment across the entire justice system to reverse declining confidence in justice in our country. Not a day goes by when we don’t read about woeful crime detection rates, with some crimes not even being investigated because of squeezed police resources, fewer prosecutions and courts sitting empty. The Treasury’s budget plans need to be implemented in addition to, not instead of, an urgent cash injection for legal aid, a freeze on court closures, improved rehabilitation of offenders and a serious commitment to better decision making across Whitehall, otherwise the whole system will breakdown.

“We hope that the extra £5billion made available for the NHS and other public services to cope with coronavirus extends to the courts, which will come under increasing pressure should virus-related restrictions take hold. The delivery of justice must not come to a halt and funds must be made available to ensure defendants are tried properly, custody cases are not put on hold and care proceedings are not delayed to the detriment of any child. We will be pressing the Government for clarity on plans to prepare the justice system, which is already weak from underinvestment, for the impact of coronavirus.”