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Backlog of cases in our courts is a serious emergency, says David Lammy
19 January 2021, 16:42
This is the moment David Lammy told LBC that there is a "mounting problem of a backlog in our courts of cases", representing a "serious emergency".
The Shadow Justice Secretary and LBC presenter made the remarks while speaking to Shelagh Fogarty about the impact of Covid on the justice system.
It comes after new figures have shown an estimated one in eight people had been infected with Covid-19 in England by December last year.
Speaking of the virus' impact on the courts, Mr Lammy told Shelagh: "We've got a serious emergency now breaking across the country.
"And Shelagh, just to put this in context, what it means is very sadly if you've been the victim of crime, if you've experienced a murder in your family, if you've experienced domestic violence or rape or burglary, I'm afraid the chances of that getting to a hearing now are about four years away.
"And in some cases the evidence will be lost because time passes so the case doesn't come forward.
"So it's very serious to have this mounting problem of a backlog in our courts of cases moving through the system."
He tweeted about the issue: "Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the Ministry of Justice has dithered and delayed, allowing the backlog to grow to more than 50,000 cases.
"Massive delays to justice are letting victims down."
The Law Society said the Crown court backlog was already substantial prior to the pandemic.
David Greene, president, said: "Given the continuing impact of the pandemic - including the new more easily transmissible coronavirus variant - we have called for further steps to be taken to make the courts safer for all users. The gains sought to be achieved in pressing on regardless will be lost if such measures are not put in place.
"This is likely to lead to yet further delays due to court closures following outbreaks of coronavirus and due to staff, lawyers, judiciary and parties falling sick."