The Bar Council has responded to the Ministry of Justice’s Crown Court recovery plans, which includes an increase in custody time limits.

Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar Council said:

“We understand the current issue about ensuring that potentially dangerous criminals are not released because their trial has been very delayed due to the existing backlog of trials exacerbated by Covid-19. However, we are very concerned that this 25% increase in the lawful detention of a potentially innocent person because there aren’t enough courts available to hear their trial does not become a license to push off cases for longer than absolutely necessary. The government must increase sustained investment in the criminal justice system to add more court rooms urgently, especially those capable of safely hearing cases with many defendants. We are pleased that this Covid-19-related measure is only in force for nine months. We will continue to monitor the listing of cases very closely.”