MP Sarah Champion urges government to address court backlog

MP SARAH Champion has called on the government to do more to cut huge court backlogs.

Figures published by HM Courts & Tribunals Service show that the Crown court backlog stood at 60,898 in February, compared to 57,539 a year earlier.

Ms Champion raised the issue in the House of Commons, citing the case of Rotherham men John Shaw and Ken Cresswell, who died in the collapse of the Didcot Power Station in 2016.

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She said: “The government is likely to miss its own targets for reducing Crown court backlogs.

“Wait times for rape and sexual assault cases are at an all-time high.

“I have got two Rotherham families waiting years for corporate manslaughter cases, and countless victims of sexual abuse who again don't know when they’re going to get their day in trial.

“What exactly is the minister going to do to deal with the trauma that my victims, survivors and their families are facing with these waits.”

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Mike Freer, minister of state for courts and legal services, responded: “I can find out why cases have been delayed.

“It can be for a variety of reasons, not just about the general backlog…

“But in the mean time, what we have done, we’ve increased the number of the judiciary across all of our courts by ten per cent in the last five years. “We’ve increased over 1,000 judges this year, and we're going to recruit a thousand judges next year.

“That’s the practical measures we are taking to increase capacity.”