Covid-19 “leading the criminal justice system to a tipping point beyond which it may cease to function”.

New analysis by the crime and justice consultancy Crest Advisory suggests that criminal court capacity in England and Wales will need to double in order to stop the backlog of cases growing to an unmanageable level over the next four years.

Based on official data , Crest’s modelling projects that by 2024 current trajectories will lead to a backlog in the Crown Court of around 195,500 cases (a four-fold increase over 2019) and a backlog  in the magistrates’ courts of some 580,300 cases (increasing by a factor of ten).

Harvey Redgrave, Crest Advisory Chief Executive, said: “The conclusion of our modelling is stark. […] We are only just beginning to understand the potential impact of Covid-19 on the criminal justice system. Without fundamental reform and significant investment in the upcoming Spending Review there is a real risk it may cease to function in any meaningful sense in the coming years.”