September 25, 2020

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Criminal justice in England and Wales facing triple threat, lawyers say

System hit by shortage of defence lawyers, end of furlough scheme and postponement of trials during pandemic

The criminal justice system in England and Wales is facing the triple threat of a shortage of defence lawyers, financial shock as furlough assistance from the government ends and the mass postponement of trials due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With judges postponing trials as far ahead as 2022 and some refusing to remand suspects in custody when time limits are repeatedly breached, pressure is mounting on the Ministry of Justice to open more emergency courtrooms that will operate safely during the crisis.

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