Both the Prime Minister and the Justice Secretary have said they are keen to improve the criminal justice system in terms of prosecution and the time it takes to prosecute crimes relating to domestic violence. towards women and girls (Dominic Raab confuses the meaning of misogyny in a BBC interview, October 6).
“Non-priority” cases pending in Crown courts are now scheduled in 2023-24. It is not enough for victims of crime or the accused to have their lives on hold and have to relive events in court months, if not years, after they have occurred.
The members of the Association of Magistrates have the highest values of equity, justice and the conviction “that justice delayed is justice denied”. Many magistrates’ courts, after a period of fantastic engagement of volunteer magistrates throughout the pandemic, have little to no backlog of cases. We are well positioned to stop referring cases to Crown courts if only our jurisdiction could be increased to 12 months in jail for a single offense. This would lighten the burden on Crown courts, speeding up justice for all.
There is an urgent need for practical change “in the real world” to improve the justice system for women and girls, as well as for all victims and witnesses who are suffering because of long backlogs in Crown courts. , and it could start now. It is time to show faith in the judiciary to play its part in solving these problems.
National President, Association of Magistrates