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News Round-Up Week Ending 27.5.16

(Posted on 27/05/16)


“Criminal justice system close to breaking point”:

A report by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has described the criminal justice system as "bedevilled by long-standing poor performance, including delays and inefficiencies", warning that cutbacks are affecting the ability of courts to deliver justice, the BBC reports.

The report found:

• Two thirds of trials in crown courts were delayed or did not go ahead at all.
• There was a backlog of 51,830 cases awaiting a hearing as of last September last year
• There is an average 134-day wait between cases leaving magistrates' courts and the start of crown court proceedings (up from a 99-day average wait two years ago)
• Only 55% of witnesses said they would be willing to be witnesses again, with 20% being made to wait four hours or more to give evidence in court.

"These are damning statistics,” committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said. "An effective criminal justice system is a cornerstone of civil society but ours is at risk. Too little thought has been given to the consequences of cutbacks with the result that the system's ability to deliver justice, together with its credibility in the eyes of the public, is under threat."

The Ministry of Justice said it would "reflect on the recommendations".