Appeal judges to work unpaid

Court of Appeal judges are to work unpaid at least two extra hours a week for the next six months in an attempt to clear a backlog of 1,000 applications for leave to appeal.

Lord Woolf, the Master of the Rolls, is keen to reduce the backlog by next summer when the results of a review to speed up processes in the civil division of the Court of Appeal are due to be announced. He said appeal judges in all 10 divisions had agreed to sit the extra hours to clear the backlog, which arose mainly because of a surge in applications by litigants in person.

In addition, two extra two-judge “crash” courts would be established, one of which would concentrate purely on applications for leave to appeal.