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Prosecutions: West Midlands

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Independent, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to (a) tackle the backlog of serious court cases in the West Midlands, (b) ensure the capacity of Crown Prosecution Service lawyers to prosecute and (c) increase the court time available for those cases.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The number of outstanding cases in the crown court in the West Midlands Local Criminal Justice Area, has reduced over the last 5 years by almost 50%. The published data for the West Midlands shows the number of outstanding crown court cases from end of March 2015 to end of March 2019

Period

Number of outstanding cases

March 2015

2504

March 2016

2153

March 2017

1777

March 2018

1527

March 2019

1267

The amount of court time available is determined by the allocation of sitting days to each Region and in turn to each court. There are robust case progression systems in place to ensure that cases are ready for trial and that time estimates for the length of trial are accurate. Listing decisions are ultimately the function of the judiciary but HMCTS staff work closely to support the judiciary particularly with the management of custody cases. HMCTS is unable to answer point b in relation to CPS resources, as this would be the responsibility of the Attorney General’s Office.

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