Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has welcomed the news from Courts Minister James Cartlidge MP that Kent’s courts will be a priority for the allocation of new judicial capacity.
It follows a long campaign of activity by the PCC, in conjunction with a number of Kent’s MPs, which had already led to the establishment of a Nightingale Court in Maidstone. Matthew together with the Chief Constable met with the Minister to make the case for capacity in Kent to be filled.
For a number of reasons, Kent has the highest backlog of crown court cases in the country compared to their pre-pandemic levels. In April, this was still 88% higher.
Matthew Scott said
“I am pleased to have been able to secure this commitment from the Ministry of Justice, which will enable us to get the backlog down. Justice delayed could be as bad as justice denied, so I welcome the Government’s extensive actions to support victims and witnesses and enable people to have their day in court. The Nightingale Court is helping and in addition to the recruitment of judges, I’m pleased to hear there will be a push to recruit more magistrates as well.
As Kent’s victims champion, I will continue to work hard on their behalf.”
In his letter to Matthew, the Minister said
“You raised a number of challenges currently facing the courts in Kent, particularly the Crown Court at Maidstone. These challenges are not unique to Kent, although Kent has been identified as a priority area for reallocating judges.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The MoJ and the judiciary are trying to increase capacity, including a national recruitment campaign of 1100 judges in 2022 as well as extending the number of hours they are allowed to sit. There is also a campaign to recruit more than 4000 new magistrates over the next few years.
Kent’s current backlog of crown court cases is 88% more than pre-pandemic levels. Nationally the backlog of crown court cases stands at about 45.5%.