Responding to news that the Lord Chancellor has announced 4500 extra court sitting days for the 2020/21 financial year, Chair of the Bar Amanda Pinto QC said:

“Increasing sitting days is a positive move which the Bar Council and legal colleagues have been urging the government to make for months. By increasing court sitting days, the Lord Chancellor has today acknowledged the urgent need to unblock the huge back-log of cases in our criminal courts.  More widely, this is an indication by the government that criminal justice needs fixing, but on its own, it is by no means a complete remedy for a system on its knees.

“A one-off increase in sitting days will not have the desired effect and we urge the government to monitor the impact of these changes. We anticipate that no less than 5000 Crown Court sitting days in the financial years 2020/21 and 2021/22 are needed to maintain, let alone reduce, the backlog. Without those extra court sitting days, victims of crime will be carry on waiting for justice and suspects will be languishing as they wait, in limbo, for their trial. The Bar Council will keep talking to the Ministry of Justice  to help ensure the right approach is taken.”