Criminal justice

Crown Court backlog increases

Criminal court backlog figures for April this year have been published today (9 June) showing 58,271 outstanding cases in the Crown Court compared to 57,870 in March.

“It is very concerning to see the Crown Court backlog has increased compared to the previous month,” said Law Society of England and Wales vice president Lubna Shuja.

“Looking at the longer view, the backlog is decreasing at a snail’s pace – by just 286 cases in six months from November 2021 and April 2022 – but the fact the backlog has gone up again in the most recent month tells us the problem will not be resolved without a radical shift from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

“Despite the courts of England and Wales now operating at full capacity, the backlog will not go away anytime soon without urgent action to ensure there are enough judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers to cover the huge number of cases.

“Victims, witnesses and defendants continue to face unacceptable delays and the wider public’s faith in the justice system is under threat.

“The MoJ should bite the bullet and commit to clearing the backlog by investing in the foundations of the criminal justice system and immediately committing to the 15% increase in legal aid rates for criminal defence solicitors recommended as the bare minimum to ensure the future of the profession.”

Notes to editors

* Figures for April 2022 show 358,076 outstanding cases in the magistrates’ courts and 58,271 in the Crown Court.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Nick Mayo | 020 8049 4100

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS