The Lord Chief Justice has suggested juries should be made smaller to clear the pandemic backlog, which he said has led to “deeply damaging” delays in the justice system.

The delays and backlog in the justice system have been widely reported over the last year and the government confirmed the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts have been worst affected.

Crown Court jury trials were suspended for almost two months at the height of the pandemic; by May 2020, the Crown Court backlog had reached around 40,900 cases, compared with 33,600 in May 2019.

Lord Burnett of Maldon told The Telegraph: “an opportunity was missed to introduce a temporary reduction in jury size” at the outset of the pandemic.

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