Record number of cases waiting 2+ years in criminal court queue

Crown court cases outstanding for more than two years have spiked to 4,893 – a 69% increase.

The highest recorded number waiting this long since reporting started in 2014, we have warned.

Criminal court statistics for July to September 2022 released 19 January show a significant increase in wait times for cases going to trial.

Outstanding caseloads in both the magistrates’ and Crown courts have risen from the previous quarter.

The Crown courts saw the backlog grow by 6%, with a further 3,293 cases added to the queue.

*A quarter (28%) have been open for a year or more.

“Although the statistics paint a long-term picture of decline in criminal justice, the system can still be restored with proper investment,” said our president Lubna Shuja.

“The fact that there has been a 69% increase, from September 2021 to September 2022, in Crown court cases that have been waiting for more than two years, is unacceptable.** An inefficient system is ultimately a drain on public money.”

Lubna Shuja added: “Investment is needed across all areas of the criminal justice system to ensure progress is made on reducing the backlogs, so victims and defendants no longer face such long waits for justice.

“1.35 million people were dealt with by the criminal justice system last year***. Access to justice is vital to maintaining public safety and a fair society.

“Our recently published five-point plan to help tackle the backlog identifies where investment is needed, including in the crumbling court buildings and the judges, lawyers and staff who work in them.

“A starting point would be to increase criminal defence rates by the minimum 15% recommended by the independent review of criminal legal aid, which the government chose to ignore.”

Notes to editors

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Louise Navarro-Cann |020 8049 3715

Nick Mayo | 020 8049 4100

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