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St Albans Crown Court faces growing backlog of cases UK News

St Albans Crown Court faces a growing backlog of cases, figures show.

A parliamentary report has warned that the coronavirus pandemic has left the justice system in England and Wales in ‘crisis’, with a backlog of cases that will take years to resolve.

Justice Department figures show St Albans Crown Court, which hears much of the county’s cases, had 917 cases pending at the end of December.

This was an increase of 8% from the end of September and 27.9% at the end of 2019, when there were 717.

The Lords Constitution Committee urged the government to make urgent plans, including new funding, to prevent public confidence in the justice system from being undermined.

Across England and Wales, the number of cases pending in Crown courts rose to 56,827 in December, up 11% from September and 49% above the same point the previous year.

However, the number of cases concluded in December was close to pre-pandemic levels, as courts move closer to be able to clear the national backlog.

The figures also show that 319 cases were concluded at St Albans Crown Court between October and December following a trial or sentencing hearing.

This is a drop of 16.5% on the 382 cases treated between July and September. Between October and December 2019, 325 deals were concluded.

Last month, the Crown Prosecution Service watchdog warned that the workload of prosecutors nationwide was increasing at an alarming rate and that this could have “major consequences” for victims and witnesses.

Meanwhile, some lawyers have said they are already seeing trials scheduled for 2023.

Bar Council Chairman Derek Sweeting QC said: “With the end of social distancing in sight, the government must seize the opportunity to allow the courts to handle as many cases as possible by investing in more capacity. courts, more court staff and a proper sitting. days.”

Dame Vera Baird, the victims commissioner, said victim centers were under increasing pressure due to delays in the justice system.

“They carry a heavier workload because victims stay longer in the justice system.

“Hub staff also need to work harder to persuade victims not to withdraw from their support for the prosecution due to delays.”

A spokesperson for the Justice Department said: “We are spending £ 450million to bring justice to victims faster and this is already having an impact – pending magistrate cases have fallen by 50,000 since last summer and cases in Crown courts reached pre-Covid levels in December.

“More jury trials are heard every week, with video hearings and new Nightingale courts building capacity as we invest record amounts in victim assistance.”

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This notice was published: 2021-04-11 12:00:00