Rise in serious crime coincides with 20% drop in number of legal aid cases

The number of legal aid cases concluded in crown courts has fallen 20% in the last three years despite a significant rise in serious crime.

The chair of the Criminal Bar Association, Chris Henley QC, has drawn attention to the statistics and how they coincide with a rise in homicides, knife offences, theft offences and fraud. He said the drop in the number of cases being heard in the crown courts is directly related to the “savage cutting of court sitting days” which have formed part of the austerity policies of successive Conservative governments.

He told CBA members: “Serious crime has been increasing year on year but the volumes of cases going through the courts have been falling off a cliff.Wherever you look the public is being relentlessly let down by the atrocious financial squeeze on the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office.’

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