The UK Government has announced more sentencing authority for justice of the peace in bidding to tackle the court backlog

Justice of the Peace in England and Wales will be given more judgment to address the unprocessed portion of the case awaiting processing by the criminal court.

With the latest efforts to reduce the number of unsolved cases and the pressure faced by the Criminal Court during a coronavirus pandemic, security judges can be sentenced to up to one year in prison. This is twice the current maximum of 6 months.

However, critics warned that the plan would have the opposite effect and could actually be added to the backlog while branding the “adhesive plaster” solution.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) estimates that this will free up nearly 2,000 days of criminal court time each year.

This move allows justice of the peace to declare more serious cases, such as fraud, theft, and assault. Currently, crimes that guarantee imprisonment of six months or more must be sent to the Criminal Court for judgment.

According to MoJ, maintaining more cases in the Magistrates’ Court where the effects of COVID-19 are “less serious” means that the Criminal Court can focus more resources on its unprocessed portion efforts. ..

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said:

“With Nightingale Courts, Digital Hearings, and Unlimited Sitting Days, we will provide faster and more effective justice by rebuilding a stronger, safer and more just society after a pandemic.”

But in the Labor Party’s shadow court, sentencing minister Alex Cunningham described the move as a solution to “another sticky plaster,” adding: It overloads the declining number of criminal advocates left in the system. “

Mark Fenholes QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, said:

“This means less money is available to keep the court running.

“This change will allow more defendants to choose a trial in the Criminal Court, which may increase the backlog of the trial.

“This undermines the interests of the claimant and the victim and is counterproductive to everything we are trying to achieve in order to achieve timely and justice.”

QC Chairman Jo Sidhu of the Criminal Bar Association described the plan as “in the worst case, distracting politics,” arguing that “tampering with the judge’s decision-making power is a betrayal of crime victims.” He warned that the move could lead to further complaints in the case. Just add it to your crown coat and add it to your backlog.

Stuart Matthews, a partner at criminal defense firm Reeds Solicitors, branded the decision as “an easy way to pull” and “price cuts, bottom barrel criminal justice, digging new depths” and explained most of the security judges. Warned people to “fear”. “Untrained volunteers, many of whom do not even understand the most basic legal principles.”

This change, which is expected to take effect in the coming months, applies only to so-called “either way” crimes that can be dealt with by justice of the peace or the Crown Court. That means that the defendants can choose to have a jury trial in the Criminal Court hear their proceedings if they so desire.

Training is provided by the College of Justice to ensure that permissions are used “consistently and properly”.

Judicial review and amendments to court bills mean that the government has the power to revoke changes as necessary.

Beb Higgs, the national chairman of the Justice of the Peace Association, who has appealed for increased voting rights, said he was “happy” with the announcement, adding: It is a safe, effective and efficient judicial system, which shows great confidence in justice of the peace.

“Our members and colleagues take pride, professionalism and integrity to this new level of responsibility and, as always, strive to provide the highest quality justice in court.”

Last year, the Board of Audit, Whitehall’s spending watch, said the unprocessed portion of the Criminal Court after the number of unresolved cases in the Criminal Court reached a record high of about 61,000 and 364,000 in the Magistrates’ Court. Warned that “it has remained a problem for many years.” Reduce slowly.

PA media