Responding to today's House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution report - Covid-19 and the Courts, Chair of the Bar Council, Derek Sweeting QC, said:
“This is the second report in as many weeks, and one of a number over the last year, that points to a neglected and diminished justice system. After years of cuts, the Government must urgently make up funding shortfalls to ensure we have a functioning justice system and resilient courts for the future beyond the pandemic. As the report makes clear the criminal justice system is among the worst affected areas. It's those awaiting trial who are paying the price for a lack of proper investment. Some 8,000 adults and 130 children have been left in limbo, waiting for up to two years for their cases to be heard.
“The Bar Council’s own Small Change report not only echoes much of the House of Lords Constitution Committee’s sentiment, as well as that of last week’s Public Accounts Committee report, but also shows that just a small increase is required for a functioning justice system strong enough to withstand future challenges. A comparatively modest increase, alongside more Nightingale Courts, sitting days and court staff, can rescue our world renowned justice system.”