Backlog caused by government cuts ‘undermining access to justice’ in criminal courts

Courtrooms are “lying empty” and judges are being prevented from presiding over trials while the backlog of criminal cases grows longer due to government cuts, according to a report by barristers in the west of England.

The number of sitting days on the Western Circuit – which includes Winchester, Southampton, Exeter and Bristol – has been cut by 15% by HM Courts and Tribunal Service in the past year causing “rocketing delays”, the study finds.

Related: Half of magistrates courts in England and Wales closed since 2010

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