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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-criminal-justice-reform/2010-to-2015-government-policy-criminal-justice-reform
This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/making-the-criminal-justice-system-more-efficient. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.
The progression of criminal cases through the court system relies heavily on papers being passed between the criminal justice agencies and the defence counsel. Transferring papers in this way can be slow and is often costly. There is also significant duplication of information and administrative work.
The physical movement of people for court appearances and meetings can cost a significant amount of time and money.
To better meet the needs of victims and the public and save public money, we need a system that is less bureaucratic and costs less to run.
The main areas we are addressing are:
- reducing unacceptable delays in the criminal justice system
- reducing rework and duplication
- improving compliance and case administration
We will make the criminal justice system more efficient and cost-effective by taking the following actions.
We’re introducing digital technology to enable:
- criminal justice agencies to create and manage case files more efficiently
- the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to transfer information electronically with each other and with the courts and probation services
- parties in court to work from a laptop or other portable computer in court instead of using the paper file
We’re using video technology to enable:
- prisoners on remand to use video links rather than having to be transported to the court
- ‘virtual courts’ where the defendant appears at the first hearings using a video link from the police station
- ‘live links’, where the police give evidence in summary trials by video link from a police station instead of in person at court
- offenders, managers and supervisors to meet using video conferencing instead of in person.
We’re also looking at how the criminal justice system can respond better to crimes such as rape, domestic violence and other violence against women and girls, and hate crime.
We published a full strategy and action plan in June 2013 and July 2014.
The government’s comprehensive spending review set out budget cuts across the criminal justice system. To achieve this, we need to take a new approach to delivering services.
In July 2012 we published a White Paper ‘Swift and sure Justice: The government’s plans for reform of the criminal justice system’. The paper set out the government’s programme of reforms to the criminal justice system in England and Wales. It forms part of the government’s much wider programme of reform of crime and justice.
Who we’ve consulted
We published 2 consultations in March 2012.
‘Punishment and reform: effective probation services’ set out proposals to reform probation to protect the public, to reduce reoffending and to ensure that offenders are properly punished. A response was published on 9 January 2013.
‘Punishment and reform: effective community sentences’ sought views on proposals for reform to make community sentences a more effective and credible means of reducing reoffending. We published a response in October 2012.
We also published a consultation ‘Getting it right for victims and witnesses’ in January 2012 and published our response in July 2012.
In March 2013 we published a consultation, Improving the code of practice for victims of crime that set out the government’s plans to reform the victims’ code to better tailor services to individual victims, adding for the first time restorative justice and the victim personal statement.
Appendix 1: swifter justice in the criminal justice system
This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.
We know that currently there are unnecessary delays with cases being heard in magistrates’ courts and this can cause additional distress for victims and witnesses.
We are creating a swifter criminal justice system with:
- reduced delays
- fewer hearings
- more trials effective on the day
The TSJ programme (which includes recommendations made in the judicially-led Magistrates’ Disclosure Review) will do this for magistrates’ court cases - providing swifter justice and less distress for victims and witnesses. It is helping all parties in the criminal justice system to play their part most effectively.
The project splits cases into dedicated guilty and not-guilty plea courts.
- Anticipated guilty plea cases will be listed within 14 days of charge, with the aim of dealing with them in one hearing.
- Anticipated not guilty plea cases will be listed 28 days after charge, allowing time for review and preparation before the first hearing so they can be properly case managed at first hearing and then proceed to an effective trial at the second hearing.
The TSJ programme has been agreed between all the parties involved in the process:
- Crown Prosecution Service
They are working to implement the TSJ principles across magistrates’ courts in England and Wales from May 2015.