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The number of litigants in person in crown court rising sharply

'Times' report shows sharp rise in number of unrepresented defendants in crown court


18 November 2019
The number of litigants in person in crown court rising sharply

The Times has reported that the number of unrepresented defendants in crown court has risen sharply over the past nine years. Government statistics have revealed that in 2018, 7.7% of defendants were unrepresented at their first hearing, compared to 4.9% in 2010. In terms of defendants being unrepresented throughout their trial, the proportion has also risen from 0.6% to 1% over the same period.

Ministry of Justice statistics also show that the courts devoted considerably more time to hearing the cases of unrepresented defendants, with only 6% of unrepresented defendants having their case resolved with one hearing compared to 10% of represented defendants, and 22% of unrepresented defendants needing six or more hearings compared to 16% of represented defendants. Caroline Goodwin QC reported at the annual Bar Conference in London that unless there is investment, the criminal justice system is going to fail.

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