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NEWS

Short Update: Trials in the UK could face delays up to five years because of the pandemic

FairTrialsAdmin - June 22, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Delayed or accelerated proceedings, Remote Justice

The backlog of cases in UK’s  criminal justice system has reached half a million cases which could cause delays in trials of up to five years. 

Magistrates’ courts in England and Wales have grappled with significant backlogs of cases for years. During the pandemic the number of cases waiting to be dealt with by magistrates has risen to 483,678 and the backlog in the crown court is almost 41,000. 

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners national lead on criminal justice suggests wider use of video technology and setting up courts in buildings such as sports centres. A senior criminal law barrister said to the Times that prosecutors were taking pleas to lesser charges to reduce the crown court backlog. In one case involving an attack with a large knife, a plea was accepted for the lesser charge of threatening with a bladed weapon instead of attempted grievous bodily harm. 

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 telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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