We need to start by asking why the wheels of justice grind so slowly. One study of magistrates’ courts showed that cases took an average of 15 weeks from start to finish, yet involved only six hours of actual work. Fewer than half of all trials go ahead on the scheduled date. What would happen if airlines were run like that?
So writes Nick Herbert, MP, UK Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice and a rising star in public policy circles. Swift and certain justice is fairer to crime victims. And as research on programmes such as HOPE Probation and 24/7 Sobriety shows, it’s also better for offenders.
But getting it done in practice is going to be a challenge in the UK’s leisurely-paced court system. I am happy that 24/7 Sobriety is now part of the UK’s legal structure, but if isn’t implemented with swift, certain and modest sanctions for infractions, it might as well not be tried at all.