Cabinet reshuffle: Boris Johnson must heed warnings that justice delayed is justice denied

·1-min read
Dominic Raab has replaced Robert Buckland as justice secretary in the reshuffle  (PA Wire)
Dominic Raab has replaced Robert Buckland as justice secretary in the reshuffle (PA Wire)

The justice system is “at a tipping point” was the response from the Criminal Bar Association after the appointment of Dominic Raab as the eighth secretary of state since 2010.

That message was echoed by the admission in outgoing minister Robert Buckland’s letter to the Prime Minister on Wednesday that the courts system needs massive investment.

Neither sentiment will come as much surprise to anyone who’s looked at statistics showing a backlog of more than 50,000 cases, with a fifth already waiting to be heard for more than a year.

More money is needed from policing to the courts, through to prosecutors and defenders to ensure cases are dealt with properly and promptly.

Regrettably, the position today is far from that, as evidenced by the daily tweets from professionals complaining about cases being put off because of a lack of court space and barristers.

The Victims’ Commissioner for England, Dame Vera Baird, is among those who have pointed out that people in traumatic or complex cases such as rape or serious violence suffer longer to see justice done.

The proportion of crimes ending in court, which official statistics show is at a record low, is damaging public confidence.

Mr Buckland was right in his parting shot to Mr Johnson to state that “justice is beyond price”. The PM should heed his advice.

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