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Written Question
Crown Court: Standards
Wednesday 23rd March 2022

Asked by: Gagan Mohindra (Conservative - South West Hertfordshire)

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the size of the backlog of cases in crown courts.

Answered by James Cartlidge - Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)

There will always be outstanding cases in the Crown Court as these figures include cases that are being prepared to be heard in the courts.

The outstanding caseload in the Crown Court reduced from around 61,000 cases in June 2021 to around 58,993 cases at the end of January 2022.

The Government is committed to supporting the recovery of the courts. We have extended 30 Nightingale courtrooms beyond the end of March 2022 and removed the limit on the number of days the Crown Court can sit in the 2021/22 financial year. To secure enough capacity to sit at the required levels in 2022/23 and beyond we are expanding our plans for judicial recruitment.

To provide additional capacity in the Crown Courts we are extending magistrates’ court sentencing powers from 6 to 12 months’ imprisonment for a single Triable Either Way offence to allow more cases to be heard in the magistrates’ court and help to drive down the backlog of cases over the coming years.

These measures are already working, and as a result we expect to get through 20% more Crown Court cases this financial year than we did pre-Covid. Following an increase in funding as part of the Ministry of Justice’s Spending Review settlement, we aim to reduce the number of outstanding cases in the Crown Court to 53,000 by March 2025.