Unreliable Evidence - 02/01/2013
Clive Anderson and guests discuss concerns that our legal system is chronically slow and analyse controversial government proposals for swift justice in our criminal courts.
Clive Anderson and top lawyers and judges reveal why the wheels of our legal system turn so slowly and discuss concerns that Government proposals to speed up proceedings in our criminal courts could lead to injustices.
The president of the Law Society, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, strongly opposes plans for weekend courts and to extend court hours, warning that such measures would be expensive and ineffective.
Deputy chair of the Magistrates Association, Richard Monkhouse says delays in the criminal courts, which often result in defendants spending months in custody, could be addressed by giving magistrates greater sentencing powers.
Retired appeal court judge, Sir Mark Potter, predicts that legal aid cuts will result in major delays in the civil courts. He says a shortage of resources is causing particular problems in the family courts where delays have serious impacts on children's lives.
The programme also considers the arguments for reforming the appeal system, following comments from the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, who expressed "fury" over cases such as that of Abu Hamza which take many years to resolve.
Producer: Brian King An Above the Title production for BBC Radio 4.