Insights House of Commons Justice Select Committee announces inquiry into how delays to court cases caused by the pandemic can be addressed


The inquiry, “Court Capacity”, will review the practical experience of delays in the courts for lawyers, witnesses, victims and defendants. It will investigate whether the increase of 4,500 court sitting days will be sufficient to clear the backlog of cases and what long-term solutions, including digital hearings, may be possible.

The Committee is inviting written evidence submissions on some or all of the following points via the Committee’s website:

  • the impact of Covid-19 on court sitting days and the backlog of cases, including whether the one-off additional funding and 4,500 additional days provided for 2020/21 is sufficient and staffing and recruitment issues;
  • practical experience of delay in Crown and other courts among lawyers, witnesses, victims and defendants and whether there is appropriate access to justice;
  • the extent to which courts have appropriate capacity post-Covid-19, including the extent to which courtrooms are idle across England and Wales; and
  • long-term solutions to reduce delay in cases coming to trial, including the move to the digital transformation of the court estate.

The deadline for written responses is 7 September 2020. Oral evidence will follow later in the autumn. To read the Committee’s news release in full and for access to the inquiry page, click here.