Monday Message 16.12.19
Caroline Goodwin QC
HO HO HO! ALL RISE!
Criminal court statistics quarterly, England and Wales, July to September 2019:
- The number of Crown Court receipts increased 5% whilst the number of disposals fell by 4% on the previous year.
- A provisional estimate of outstanding cases increased by 3% on the previous quarter.
- Estimates of timeliness at Crown Court temporarily suspended: Following changes to underlying administrative systems it has not been possible to produce robust estimates for Q3. Data for Q2 2019 is the latest available published estimate.
Are you surprised by any of that? Are you rolling your eyes in disbelief? I think not. The backlog has increased and is growing. Scrooge has had his comeuppance.
There is a simple answer here invest in sitting days. No massaging of figures, no redistribution of means and medians is going to get us away from the fundamental fact that unless the courts sit with Judges who are not under time pressure, the situation is only going to get worse. Witnesses and complainants are queuing out the front door.
We already have a 1% increment from the last quarter and if the new regime is as good as its word, law and order is said to be a priority. The penny pinching inflexibility surrounding reduced sitting days has to end. Substantial investment is needed to tackle court closures, falling prosecutions and the rise in violent crime.
Act now before it is too late and invest in sitting days. This problem is not going away.
ANCIEN REGIME NOW GET JUSTICE DONE:
One regime over, another begins. We look forward to working with the new team but being serious about law and order means being serious about investment. No gimmicks. No half-truths or vague promises. The public must be kept safe and nothing less will do. Invest equally in prosecution and legal aid defence services to ensure crimes are reported, investigated and seen through swiftly to the outcomes needed in order to maintain public safety and confidence in our criminal justice system while not leaving the innocent in limbo for years, their lives suspended.
THE COURT ESTATE:
Winchester crown court roof is leaking into two buckets providing a rather pleasing shade of blue in one and yellow one in the other. Gross.
We have received some really very worrying news and if it is correct it is serious. When we use a public building, we expect to be safe. Having fire escapes locked is not the way forward. We understand that Maidstone Crown Court has such a problem. We ask that if this is so that it is attended to.
MOJ and FEES:
For those of you who read this message regularly you will have known that purdah has intervened. We are now into a new season of meetings and will keep you updated.
We wrote last week about St Albans Crown Court and HHJ Warner. We incorrectly indicated that HHJ Warner was on holiday. He is not and indeed is sitting in the Mental Health Tribunal. Many apologies for the incorrect information. We do aim to be accurate and we hope that the correction is now indeed accurate.
I can hear you cheering as the MM is less than 3 pages, well its Christmas and I know you are all very busy and I thought I would spoil you! So without further ado I will announce that the winner of the Magnum of Champagne this week is………….wait for it…………..Nicholas Murphy, 25 Bedford Row who sent in an example of appalling listing. It simply cannot go on.
FILM OF THE WEEK:
I have had the following recommended to me, it’s a series and I am told its brilliant “Nativity” You can pick from 1,2 or 3! Let me know.
The office is closed from 17th December 2019 and so it is likely the next update is in the New Year.
MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone and enjoy the festive period!
Onwards and upwards