Brooke LJ warns lack of funding is placing UK courts in crisis

The vice-president of the civil division of the Court of Appeal last week sounded a warning on the future of the civil justice system, saying it was in a state where “things can only get worse”.

Lord Justice Brooke was giving the Society for Advanced Legal Studies’ annual lecture, in which he said that the courts’ current crisis was due to lack of funding over several years.

Brooke LJ told the society that problems began when the Treasury declined to support a plan to relieve problems faced by the civil and family courts, and cut a £100m budget by 25 per cent.

He said this meant there was now a £160m backlog in both essential IT and court maintenance work, creating problems for litigants and professionals, and that government policy requiring expenditure to be paid for through litigants’ costs.

“Two and a half years ago I really thought we were on the way to creating new arrangements for civil and family justice of which this country could be proud,” said Brooke LJ. “Now I see no light on the horizon at all.”