Ministry of Justice Set for Windfall with 4.1% Real Terms Increase
The 2020/2021 COVID-19 pandemic has had a marked impact on an already over-stretched and back-logged legal system. The government has now committed to increasing the budget from £8.4bn to £10.1.bn by 2025. According to the Treasury, the money will be used to reduce the court backlog, as well as increase the number of people who are eligible for civil legal aid.
The Treasury has said that the money will “ensure that the justice system is equipped to respond to the impact of COVID-19”, as well as the continuation of transforming reform programmes “to make justice more efficient”.
In the forthcoming year an additional £477m will be given to the MoJ to jumpstart the system’s post-pandemic recovery, though there is lack of clarity of whether this is in addition to investment that was announced in 2020. An increase in the budgets in civil, tribunal, and family areas of £~324m has also been allocated to help reduce backlogs and reduce delays that many people are facing. A further £200m has been made available to facilitate the 20204/2025 completion of the court reform programme.
Despite the seemingly large amounts being invested, which is clearly a step in the right direction, chair of the Bar Council, Derek Sweeting QC has commented that “there will still be a shortfall of funding to tackle the justice crisis, restore public confidence and reduce the backlogs in our courts and tribunals”.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said, “A healthy legal system is vital for individuals, businesses and achieving levelling up. Legal aid for people on lower incomes and efficient courts are pillars of a fair society. Few things are more empowering than the ability to uphold and protect our rights.” Continuing to address the ongoing and extensive pressures that are felt within the justice system, Boyce said, “We encourage the government to build on this by fully funding the recommendations of the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid, restoring legal aid for early legal advice and ending the legal aid deserts that now stretch across most of England and Wales.”< Back to News