Criminal Bar Head’s DIY Defence Warning
(Posted on 06/12/19)Share:
Legal Aid cuts have been followed by a steep rise in the number of defendants representing themselves in crown court.
“7.7% of people in the court [at first appearance] are litigants in person,” Caroline Goodwin QC, head of the Criminal Bar Association, told the annual Bar Council conference on Saturday. “That builds in a time delay because their cases take longer.
“At the moment, 40% of criminal courts are sitting empty. You can’t get access to court. How is that access to justice? Unless there’s investment [the criminal justice system is] going to fail and falter.
“If the courts are not sitting then justice can’t be done. More sitting days. [We need to] reduce the backlog that is bound to increase.
“Give us buildings that work and, above all, invest in our criminal justice system. Our buildings are falling apart.”