"Mob justice" could increase in England and Wales unless more money is made available to clear the backlog of court cases swollen by coronavirus, the government has been warned. Richard Atkinson, of the Law Society, said a fall in legal aid payments meant thousands of lawyers risked going bust.This could further delay trials, with vigilantes stepping in, he claimed.
The backlog in Crown Court cases in England and Wales was 37,434 at the end of last year and the Law Society, which represents solicitors, estimates the number has risen considerably during the coronavirus crisis. Mr Atkinson, co-chairman of the organisation's criminal law committee, said that, with most proceedings halted, the lack of legal aid payments to solicitors' firms - and barristers - meant many risked going out of business. A shortage of experienced practitioners would further delay trials, he added.