Last updated:2023-09-18
‘Tsunami of highly sensitive sex cases’ threatens justice system, CBA warns
The leaders of the Criminal Bar Association have warned the next government of the consequences of underfunding the justice system and called for more investment. Francis FitzGibbon QC (pictured) and Angela Rafferty QC, the chair and vice-chair of the Criminal Bar Association respectively, said in an open letter of 12 May that, after Brexit, the legal system will be among the UK’s most prestigious and important assets.
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The rule of law, they said, depends on a properly funded court system, with careers as lawyers and judges open to talent without restriction by class, ethnicity or wealth. But, they said: ‘Governments for at least 25 years have allowed criminal justice to degrade, from the police service, through the publicly funded part of the legal profession, the courts, to the prisons and the probation service.’
They added: ‘Violent crime is rising and the system is dealing with a tsunami of highly sensitive sex cases, which are set to occupy it for years to come – it is imperative that enough investment is put in, across the sector, to ensure that the rights of victims and defendants are upheld.’
‘If £3bn can be found to repair the Houses of Parliament,’ the pair continued, ‘then money must be available to invest in justice – it is not an optional extra, but an essential element in a fair and tolerant society.’ They called on whichever party forms the next government to reverse the legal aid cuts, repair the collapsing fabric of court buildings and retain the Human Rights Act 1998.