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Have you ever spent a fortune aiming to achieve a target and then realised that it did not have the expected result? 

Under pressure: Rishi Sunak sanctions the spending of £477 million of your money, intending to clear 1,500 court cases per year. 

What Just Happened? 

On 10th November 2021, the UK Government revealed that the mammoth £477 million of extra cash distributed with the express aim of clearing the vast 60,692 backlog of English legal cases will only reduce this figure by a seemingly meek 7000 over three years

What Does it Mean? 

The headline figure reveals that the UK government has apparently failed in its ambition from its recent Spending Review just a few short weeks ago. Even more extraordinary is that the Government do not appear to have read their own updated industry figures. The Crown Prosecution Service has published more concerning recent figures about this backlog. It found that the extra cash injection has not even landed a glove on the massive backlog. Far from the trumpeted aim of reducing the workload of the court system, it has made no difference at all. In the face of this, there has been a dramatic increase from a concerning 60,692 cases, announced by the National Audit Office, to an eye-watering 70,011 cases. 

What impact Could it Have on the Legal Profession?

The growing backlog of cases is causing enormous pressure on the legal profession, and the backlog is spiralling day by day with seemingly no end in sight. There is growing evidence that it has had two effects. Firstly, the Criminal Bar Association has issued a warning to the UK Government that it is strongly considering voting in favour of industrial action

However, this should come as no surprise to the UK Government. In fact, on the 27th October 2021, in response to the Spending Review announcement, the Chairperson for the Criminal Bar Association labelled it 'window dressing' and raised concerns about the numbers of victims left in a dangerous state and denied much-needed justice. Further criticism of the announcement comically commented on it exposing a lack of joined-up thinking

Secondly, on the 27th October 2021, the Criminal Bar Association highlighted the plight of skilled legal professionals who are underpaid and seemingly undervalued by the UK Government. It was spoken on how the lack of funding and government inaction has forced criminal advocates to leave the profession in search of a salary befitting their skillset. These valuable and skilled legal professionals are jumping ship because they seemingly cannot take the growing pressure being placed upon them. It is causing untold stress, anxiety and is presumably impacting their personal home lives. 

This appears to be a message for anyone seeking to justify the spending of vast sums of money with the aim of reducing a bottleneck. The UK Government need to lower their expectations and those of the legal profession to dampen down the outbreak of hysteria. The enormous sums already spent cannot reasonably be recovered, and this seemingly is an excellent example of the 'sunk-cost fallacy' in action. The UK Government appear to be falling into the trap in its action as it is carrying on regardless, spending a fortune and not achieving the desired result they were expecting. The Government's pressure appears to be causing them to make irrational decisions by continuing to proceed down this treacherous road. The whole situation is having an extremely negative effect on the courts, legal professionals working on the frontline in the field and victims of crime. 

There is a growing list of cases awaiting a hearing, major staff shortages and consequently long delays. This situation needs to change, and the UK Government needs to learn quickly that there is no relationship of correlation or causation between simply throwing enormous sums of money at a backlog and hoping to achieve the reduction they had hoped for. 

In stark contrast to the opinion of the Criminal Bar Association, there appears to be no direct link between paying legal professionals more money and the backlog in the system. People seemingly draw their conclusions to suit their own agenda. The phrase never let a good crisis go to waste comes to mind.

The best strategy may be to go back to the drawing board, openly communicate with and manage the expectations of all stakeholders involved, or this story will run and run. 

Assessing firms:

#CrimeSolicitors #MKLawSolicitors #SDavieslaw #LawtonsLaw #CommonsLegal #KeimaPayton #BirdSolicitors #BarristerSecret #OldBaileySols

This Article Was Written Using the Following Sources:

[Source 1] Tobin, Sam – Budget 21: Backlog funding 'window dressing' -27 October 2021 - Budget 21: Backlog funding 'window dressing' | News | Law Gazette

[Source 2] Fouzder, Monidipa – Sunak's millions will cut case backlog by just 7,000, Government admits – 10th November 2021 - Sunak's millions will cut case backlog by just 7,000, Government admits | News | Law Gazette

[Source 3] Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 documents - Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021: documents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[Source 4] CPS data summary Quarter 4 2020-2021 - CPS data summary Quarter 4 2020-2021 | The Crown Prosecution Service

[Source 5] Sidhu, Jo – QC – Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 – 01.11.2021 - Autumn Budget And Spending Review 2021 01.11.21 - Criminal Bar Association

[Source 6] Ducharme, Jamie - The Sunk Cost Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions. Here's how -Time Magazine -26 July 2021  The Sunk Cost Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions. Here's How | TIME