In response to today’s CPS announcement that prosecutors are to prioritise serious cases to manage the impact of coronavirus, Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar, said:
“This announcement is a clear example of the ways in which those operating in the justice system are adapting in order to keep things moving during the current crisis. The existing backlog - from the lack of investment in justice over many years - had already created a huge strain on the system and now, with the best will in the world, it is unrealistic to think that the police and CPS can continue as though Covid-19 doesn’t exist. It is an inevitable consequence of the pandemic that the police and CPS must prioritise some cases over others. The important thing is to ensure that the right priorities are identified and given practical effect. Of course, it is in the public interest that those who commit crimes are dealt with for their wrongdoing and that they are dealt with swiftly. It is all the more so for serious crime.
“The Bar and our colleagues across the legal profession are doing our best to support the justice system and make it work as well as possible in these constrained times. The most important thing is the ongoing safe delivery of justice, in the interest of the public. We cannot afford as a society to shut down or put off justice until the pandemic disappears.”
Notes to Editors
The Bar Council represents barristers (over 17,000) in England and Wales. It promotes:
- The Bar’s high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services
- Fair access to justice for all
- The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and
- The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.