Criminal Proceedings

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Karl Turner Karl Turner Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has made an assessment of the modelling in respect of the criminal courts backlog published by CREST Advisory on 30 October 2020.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

CREST Advisory’s report highlighted the challenges of running the criminal courts during COVID where the need to maintain social distancing has limited the courts abilities to use court capacity. However, the modelling carried out of the criminal courts by CREST Advisory, represented an extreme scenario showing vast rises in charging of crimes which do not bear reasonable scrutiny. They also fail to take account of our extensive efforts to limit the impact of the pandemic on the justice system. As a result of these measures, magistrates’ courts are completing more cases than they are receiving and are tackling the number of outstanding cases. We’ve installed Perspex into more than 300 rooms to significantly increase volumes in the Crown Court and there are now over 250 rooms safely open for jury trials.

My department will next week publish updated projections of the prison population as National Statistics which will show how we expect demand for prisons places to change in coming years.

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