It’s time to empower magistrates to clear the backlog in our courts

This Executive is decided to ship quicker justice, punish criminals and get up for victims. So, I Am strengthening the powers of our magistrates’ courts to care for felony instances, by increasing their sentencing powers from six to 12 months for a unmarried offence.

Covid-19 has created a backlog within the courts, particularly the Crown Courts the place social distancing laws disrupted jury trials. The backlog in Crown Courts is starting to come down, and magistrates have proven outstanding dedication to bring the backlog within the magistrates’ courts down by way of around 70,000 from its top in July 2020.

In Many ways, magistrates are the unsung heroes of our justice machine. they may be volunteers, however they are linchpins of the prison justice machine and serve as the starting point for all legal cases.

Whilst essentially the most severe cases go on to Crown Courts, magistrates are dedicated, neatly-skilled and supported with legal advice, permitting them to maintain a variety of circumstances themselves – from site visitors offences to housebreaking.

I’m assured that they are able to play a fair better role in bringing down the backlog within the Crown Courts, by way of taking up more circumstances themselves. As issues stand, magistrates will have to send any crimes warranting a jail time period of more than six months – reminiscent of fraud, theft and attack – to the Crown Courtroom for sentencing. i believe that they may be able to quite and effectively handle lots of those instances.

So, we’re going to empower magistrates by raising their sentencing powers up to a most jail term of one yr. with a view to permit us to convey criminals to justice extra temporarily. And it is going to liberate around 1,SEVEN HUNDRED Crown Court sitting days a 12 months – the identical of an extra 500 jury trials – helping to relieve a few of the stress at the Crown Courts.

It’s not only a matter of accelerating magistrates’ sentencing powers. we are making an investment greater than £1million in virtual generation, and encouraging a broader vary of people to apply to develop into magistrates – to support this reform and equip the magistrates’ courts for the duty at hand.

It bureaucracy a part of our wider approach to get courtroom backlogs down as temporarily as conceivable, building up the prosecution rate of offenders and give sufferers speedier justice. we’ve got invested £250million in court recovery within the ultimate financial yr, opened brief Nightingale Courts to increase courtroom capacity, lifted the limit on court sitting days and deployed Cloud Video Platform courtrooms for extra digital hearings – all to boost our restoration from the pandemic.

Under our crime-fighting plans, this Conservative Government is midway thru recruiting 20,000 extra police, and we’ve increased the volume of time critical criminals spend in prison – each reforms Labour voted against. Our investment for sufferers is three times the extent beneath Labour, and I’m consulting on a brand new regulation to give better voice to victims around the criminal justice device. 

Strengthening the function of our magistrates and lowering the backlog in the Crown Courts is every other critical element of that plan – as we construct back a much better and fairer society after the pandemic.

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