Trinity Criminal Silk's Warnings Highlighted in House of Lords Debate
Comments made by Trinity Criminal Silk, Caroline Goodwin Q.C. whilst she was Chair of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) in July 2020 were repeated during the recent House of Lords Urgent Justice Question on the serious criminal cases backlog.
The House of Lords debate took place on 26th January 2021 where Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames commented:
"The four chief inspectors of probation, police, prisons and the CPS came together to produce a joint crisis report, expressing their grave concern about the “unprecedented and very serious” backlog of Crown Court trials—54,000-odd cases with trials scheduled into 2022—and the disastrous effects of these delays on victims, witnesses, youth offending teams, defendants and prosecutors. As long ago as July last year Caroline Goodwin, then chair of the Criminal Bar Association, pleaded with the Government to “get serious and open up 50 more buildings and focus on criminal trials.”
Now many more are needed, along with much more funding to stave off collapse."
During the debate, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar also addressed the issue of Jury trials, highlighting that reducing the size of Jury was unlikely to free up any additional space for jury trials and would require primary legislation.
Throughout her tenure as CBA Chair, Vice Chair, and prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, Caroline Goodwin Q.C. voiced concerns at the escalating backlogs in the Criminal Justice system. She has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today and Law in Action programmes on the topic, as well as featuring in The Times. In May 2020, Caroline was a witness in the Parliamentary Justice Select Committee on Coronavirus (COVID-19): The Impact on Prison, Probation and Court Systems.
The full House of Lords debate can be found here.