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Wheels Turning Slowly

Monday, May-27, 2024

Wheels Turning Slowly

brian-nuttneyThe impact of COVID-19 on the criminal court system has been significant. Solicitor Brian Nuttney explains how long some might wait to see their cases heard.

If the wheels of justice are said to turn slowly, that is especially so since the COVID-19 lockdown.

That is an observation, not a criticism, but one of which anyone hoping for a swift resolution to their motoring matter, for example, needs to be aware.

McCormicks’ criminal defence solicitors have continued to represent their clients during the crisis – attending police stations and courts as required.

And we have been impressed by, and grateful for, the efforts of police officers/staff and court personnel to keep our clients and ourselves safe.

Nevertheless, many clients whose cases would ordinarily have been done and dusted by now are still awaiting their day in court. That is because for the first three months or so of lockdown, the courts were effectively shut except for cases where people had been arrested and held in custody.

The courts are now back open, with strict social distancing measures in place and limits on the number of cases dealt with each day. That has seen the court capacity drastically reduced.

By June of this year, some estimates put the number of cases waiting to be dealt with at Magistrates’ Courts at almost half a million. Getting rid of this backlog while coping with new cases is going to take the courts some considerable time.

At McCormicks, as with other firms, we have scores of clients still waiting for the court to give them a date for their first hearing.

To pick one at random, we have a client who faces a potential driving ban for allegedly breaking the speed limit back in July 2019 and who still has not had their case heard more than 12 months later. The original court date was cancelled due to lockdown.

Such delays, coupled with COVID-19 concerns, place extra stress on clients who very often just want matters sorted so they can move on with life.

Now more than ever, therefore, it is essential to have a good solicitor to steer you through the court system and help you deal with the stresses involved.  Someone to ensure that when your case is finally listed by the courts, sometimes at short notice, everything that can be done has been done to get the best possible outcome. You can rely on McCormicks to do just that.

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