Due to many years of underinvestment our criminal justice system is crumbling.
Things are going wrong at every level and every stage. It’s become a nightmare journey through the system for the accused, for victims and for solicitors alike.
We’re calling on the government to address the problems by adopting our policy recommendations on criminal justice.
Within five years, there could be areas in England and Wales where people who have been arrested won’t be able to access a duty solicitor. This means they won’t be able to get the free legal advice they’re entitled to.
Find out more about the shortage of criminal duty solicitors
People on low incomes aren’t able to access legal advice, or are having to pay contributions towards it which are higher than they can afford.
Read our report into legal aid means testing
For example, cases in court are often 'double booked', so some hearings get cancelled at the last minute. Things like this waste the accused’s and their solicitor’s time, and increase costs.
Defendants and witnesses are having to make unreasonably long and expensive journeys to court.
Important evidence sometimes isn’t made available until the last minute, or isn’t disclosed at all. This can mean the difference between freedom and imprisonment.
All of these problems show the criminal justice system is at breaking point. Without urgent action, it will fall apart.
Our video tells the story of Peter, who is on a night out with friends when a fight breaks out. Although he wasn’t involved in the fight, Peter finds himself charged with affray.
It’s just the beginning of a nightmare journey through the criminal justice system.
This year the government is reviewing its spending across all government departments. We’re asking it to invest more money to help resolve criminal justice issues.
We believe that the government can help address the problems in the system by adopting our policy recommendations.
Read our parliamentary briefing