‘Justice for victims’: Sentencing powers doubled for UK magistrates to battle pandemic backlog

‘Justice for victims’: Sentencing powers doubled for UK magistrates to battle pandemic backlog

Credit: UK Gov

‘Justice for victims’: Sentencing powers doubled for UK magistrates to help battle the pandemic backlog.

The new move is expected to free up almost 1,700 extra days of Crown Court time and is just the latest step put in place by the government to control the criminal court backlog.

On May 2, the UK government revealed the new changes. According to the government: “Previously, magistrates could only issue a maximum of six months in prison, despite often hearing cases that warrant a longer jail term and they would need to be sent to a Crown Court for sentencing by a judge.

“The move allows more cases to be sentenced in the Magistrates’ Courts, meaning Crown Courts can focus resources on getting through more serious, complicated cases, delivering swifter justice for victims and tackling the backlog.”

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab said: “We are doing everything in our power to bring down the court backlog, and doubling the sentencing powers of magistrates will create more capacity in the Crown Court to hear the most serious cases.

“Together with an extra 30 Nightingale courtrooms currently open, digital hearings and allowing the Crown Court to hear as many cases as possible for another financial year, we will deliver swifter and more effective justice for victims.”

Bev Higgs, National Chair of the Magistrates’ Association, said: “The Magistrates’ Association has long called for this measure; it will lead to more timely justice that can only benefit all court users – defendants, complainants and witnesses.

“We are pleased that the government has placed its confidence in the magistracy and introduced this power, alongside other measures, to ease court delays.”

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Written by

Alex Glenn

Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.