CPS response to COVID-19: dealing with backlogs

Date of publication
09 March 2021
Participating inspectorate
HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate
Crown Prosecution Service

CPS response to COVID-19 (1 MB)

This report continues our investigation of how the organisations we inspect have responded during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In June 2020, we published a report examining the CPS’s response to the first national lockdown (March to May 2020). Even then, it was evident that a backlog of cases was building up, mainly as a result of court shutdowns.

For victims, witnesses and defendants, such a backlog means a delay in the resolution of their criminal case. Delays affect the ability of victims, witnesses and defendants to recollect events, and can affect their willingness to attend court to give evidence.

With an increasing caseload in the Crown Court and an increase in activity accompanying the restoration of magistrates’ court work towards pre-pandemic levels, the pressure on the CPS is not lessening. This report examines how the CPS is dealing with this pressure.