Funding to tackle court backlog

Funding to tackle court backlog 

Spending by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in England and Wales in 2021/22 will increase by 3.3% to help tackle the rising backlog in courts and tribunals as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. The UK Government has also confirmed that courts in England and Wales will remain open during the lockdown announced in January 2021.

According to HM Courts & Tribunals Service, at the end of October 2020 there were around 490,000 magistrates’ court cases outstanding in England and Wales, 20% more than before the pandemic. Around 51,590 cases were still to be heard in the Crown Court, 31% more than in March 2020.

The funding increase announced by the Chancellor in the November 2020 Spending Review means that the total MoJ budget will rise to £10.1 billion in 2021/22 up from £8.1 billion  in 2019/20.

The MoJ’s core resource funding will increase by £145 million and its capital budget by £237 million in 2021/22. A further £76 million will enable the expansion of family court and tribunal capacity so that backlogs can be reduced, while an additional £43 million will be available to ensure prisons and courts  remain Covid-secure.  An extra £337 million was also announced for the criminal justice system to  support victims  and ensure offenders  are quickly brought to  justice.  While  the funding for  criminal justice includes £275 million to tackle backlogs in the Crown courts, there will be no additional spending on legal aid.

In January 2021 the MoJ announced that 18 Nightingale Courts are in operation to help to reduce the backlog. The Nightingale Courts have been set up in town halls, theatres, hotels and libraries across England and Wales. An additional £110 million has also been spent on emergency measures that include building Portakabin units, installing plexiglass and recruiting more staff.

However, the MoJ has not provided an update on the court modernisation programme, which had already been delayed and is expected to end in 2023. The programme includes plans to make county courts paperless.

In Scotland, pre-intermediate diet meetings (PIDM) were introduced on 1 December 2020 to free up court time. PIDMs are physically distanced meetings held between the prosecution and the defence outside of the courtroom before a trial date is confirmed. PIDMs help ensure that only cases that cannot be resolved by agreement, and which are ready for trial, are given a date at the sheriff court.  Contact us here.

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Read more about the funding at: http://bit.ly/35i3eHG

Read more about PIDMs in Scotland at:  http://bit.ly/2MKsKz3

Funding to tackle court backlog
Funding to tackle court backlog

Funding to tackle court backlog