Responding to today’s publications of the criminal justice statistics for Q2 2021 which showed the Crown Court backlog has increased yet again to more than 60,000 cases waiting to be heard, Derek Sweeting QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“Efforts to reduce waiting times and the number of outstanding cases in the crown court, where the most serious criminal offences are tried, are not working quickly enough. These latest figures echo those of our own survey findings, with 82% of criminal barristers reporting problems in the court system.  Our own data also shows a long-term exodus of barristers from criminal practice, which will only continue, and add to these problems, unless there is urgent investment.

“The backlog was at record levels before Covid but the pandemic has made things worse. Without a substantial reduction, both in the backlog and waiting times, the public will lose confidence in law and order.

“We urge the Treasury to invest in our entire justice system to repair the damage caused by a decade of cuts, damage the public is now paying the price for.”