Criminal justice system ‘close to breaking down’ – retired judge


That criminal justice system is “close to breaking down”, a retired judge has warned, as he alleged. Government “Failed to achieve” with a backlog of courts.

Nigel Lithman QC, who left the bench in August after four years, said current estimates of reducing the number of cases to be dealt with by magistrates and the Crown Court are “totally unacceptable”.

He said part of the solution to tackling the problem more quickly would be to expand the use of remote proceedings, so most administrative hearings could be done online to free up courts for hearings, while offering better pay than available criminal lawyers. number will increase. take it to work.

Former barrister who led the first strike as head of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) England And Wales Bar 2014 said the pay for publicly funded work was too low, stating that “the backlog has not arisen solely from the lockdown” and was amplified after previous cuts in justice spending: “So this is what began, The lockdown is over.”

You need more troops to deal with the backlog.

By the end of June, official figures indicated there were nearly 61,000 outstanding Crown Court cases and a record high of more than 364,000 in magistrates’ courts.

Last month, Whitehall’s spending watchdog warned the criminal courts’ backlog would “remain a problem for many years”.

NS National Audit Office Cited Ministry of Justice (MoJ) estimates that by November 2024 the number of cases outstanding to the Crown Court in England and Wales could be 17% to 27% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Mr Lithman, on whose career the book Nothing Like the Truth: The Trials and Tributes of a Criminal Judge was published on Thursday, told the PA news agency: “I can see that the system is close to breaking down and I respect the Ministry of Justice. I am. As blindfolded. They simply refuse to see and behave in a way that they can see what is happening.

Nothing Like the Truth tells the story of Mr. Lithman’s career (White Fox/PA) , PA Media

“The classic saying is ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ and they (victims) often have to adjourn their cases time and again. But to deal with them, appropriate steps must be taken and you only wish hope and luck. Can’t, because much of what the Ministry of Justice does is actually considered very wrong.

The pay lines of 2014 saw criminal barristers and solicitors start leaving the legal profession and “the trickle has become a flood”, he said: “You need more soldiers to deal with the backlog.


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