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South Eastern Circuit

Coronvirus Updates

Dear Fellow Circuiteer,

This week has seen the beginnings of the emergence of HMG’s recovery plan.  It is of course far easier to sit and criticise and much harder to do things oneself, but this does not mean we will not keep pointing out the positive changes that will help.

Last week the Lord Chancellor and the Chief Executive of HMCTS gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee: transcript.  On Wednesday the Lord Chancellor made a statement about the recovery plan for the Courts and Tribunals 

I of course welcome the spending of new money on refurbishing the Courts and improving video end-points in prisons, providing it happens, and they start spending now.  We do not have time to wait for months more.  I do not even mind if most of the spending is intended as support for plumbers, locksmiths,  decorators and IT firms, so long as it all helps improve capacity to hear more cases and we can start earning again.  You can find more detail here.

The restart is slow, painful and already bumpy.  Our resilience has been undermined by a decade or more of feeling undervalued and conspicuous failure to adequately fund the justice system, criminal and civil.  I am often asked why the media is not more interested in stories about the crumbling justice system.  Actually it is (and the public are too), but in our “click bait” era of short attention spans, the Brexit and Covid stories consume all bandwidth.  We will keep trying. 

Take care of yourselves 

Mark Fenhalls QC
Leader of the South Eastern Circuit