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NEWS

Short Update: Cases now take more than 18 months in England and Wales due to COVID-19

FairTrialsAdmin - July 20, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Delayed or accelerated proceedings, Rule of Law

The England and Wales criminal justice system was already in crisis before COVID-19, but the pandemic forced the closures of courts and jury trials, exacerbated the backlog of cases awaiting trial, and restricted defendants’ fundamental rights.  

The Ministry of Justice pledged to increase sitting days in the crown courts to deal with the backlog of 37,000 cases in February 2020, but this was criticised by the Criminal Bar Association as not nearly enough, and already less sitting days than in 2019.  

At the start of 2020, the government admitted that the average crown court case took 525 days from offence to completion, compared with 392 days in 2010. This is the result of political decisions to drastically reduce funding and resources to the criminal justice system. 

The result of COVID-19 is that the delays have now stretched beyond 18 months, with some courts now listing cases into early 2022. Adjournments of cases have reached a record high, with some trials being moved 100 miles to courts that suddenly had capacity to try them.  

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please call the media team on +44 (0) 7749 785 932 or email [email protected]

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