Francesca Kirby writes for Legal Brief

January 27, 2022
Francesa Kirby has written an opinion piece for Legal Brief looking at the recent government news to increase ​sentencing powers of magistrates’ courts as well as recruit another 4000 magistrates to help alleviate the current backlog issues in the Crown Courts. She comments:

“It must also be remembered that the magistrates court has their own backlog, which will be affected by the proposed changes. Whilst the backlog may be smaller, there were still 349,277 outstanding cases at the end of quarter 3 of 2021. As a consequence of the backlog, magistrates are routinely faced with far more work than there is time for in the court day. The new proposal will merely spread the backlog to a different court. And whilst magistrates may well get through cases quicker, it is important to remember that speed and efficiency does not always equal justice.”

The announcement by government also coincided with the Criminal Bar Association’s vote for strike action, following delays to the implementation of the recommendations of the Criminal Legal Aid Review (CLAR). She concludes:

“Anyone involved in a criminal trial, be they a witness, defendant or complainant, cannot continue to wait years for resolution. The underlying issues must be addressed, and proper funding put back into the system.”

Read full piece here: [Legal Brief]