The ruling came down as murder suspects are being released on bail as courts refuse to extend custody time limits, the amount of time a suspect may be detained while awaiting trial. As it currently stands, this ruling only extends to late November. The high court also warned judges not to comment on the position of either party in the pay dispute after comments from judges in Bristol and Manchester.
Criminal barristers are on an indefinite strike over legal aid fees and the chronic underfunding of the criminal justice system. As a result, hundreds of people across the UK are spending years in prison before even standing trial. According to data released to Sky News as a result of a Freedom of Information request, 1,244 people have currently spent more than one year on remand including 314 waiting more than three years.
More than half of the suspects held on remand are held for non-violent offences and black detainees are also disproportionately remanded compared to white detainees.
Fair Trials’ Legal Director (UK and International) Bruno Min said
It is ‘unjust to hold people awaiting trial in prison for extended periods of time because of failings within the criminal justice system’. ‘But thousands of legally innocent people have been held in prison for over six months because of the long-standing backlog of criminal cases,’ Min added.
Meanwhile it was reported by the Independent that Dominic Raab’s successor, Brandon Lewis, met with the Criminal Bar Association who described the meeting as ‘constructive’. Talks stalled after Raab refused to meet barristers who rejected a 15 per cent rise to criminal legal aid rates. You can read more here.