Criminals to pay towards cost of running courts

Criminals will be made to pay towards the cost of their court case under legislation introduced to Parliament today by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

The new measure is part of the wide-ranging Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, unveiled today by Chris Grayling, aimed at revamping sentencing and ensuring the courts deliver efficiency for the taxpayer.

The reforms aim to ensure criminals are punished properly, sentencing loopholes are  closed, and the creation of a new offence for being on-the-run.

Changes to cautions will also help deliver a fairer justice system that will make communities safer.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “My priority with these reforms is to deliver a tough package of sentencing measures to make sure offenders are punished properly and consistently, so that the law-abiding majority know that we’re making the changes needed to keep them and their families safe. I also what to make sure we reduce the burden on hardworking taxpayers of the costs of running the courts.

“The public expects that serious and repeat criminals should be punished appropriately, and that those who are jailed should have to earn the right to be released early from prison. It is only right that those offenders who break the law and try to avoid serving the entirety of their sentence by going on the run face additional punishment when they are caught.

“From my first day in this job I have been clear that people must have confidence in our justice system. We’re on the side of people who work hard and want to get on, and that is why these reforms will make sure that those who commit crime pay their way and contribute towards the cost of their court cases.”

The shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, said: “This bill is more about David Cameron’s weakness, pandering to his restless Tory backbenchers, than it is about ensuring the justice system delivers for hardworking people.”

The Bill includes plans to:

  •     Make criminals contribute towards the costs of running the courts system by imposing a new charge at the point of conviction.
  •     Introduce a new offence with a punishment of up to two years in prison for criminals who go on the run while serving the non-custodial element of their sentence.
  •     End the automatic half-way point release for criminals convicted of rape or attempted rape of a child, or serious terrorism offences, and no longer automatically releasing offenders who receive the tough Extended Determinate Sentence (EDS) two-thirds of the way through their custodial term.
  •     Ban the possession of explicit pornography that shows images depicting rape. It is currently illegal to publish this material, and the new legislation will close a loophole to also prevent possession.
  •     Stop criminals receiving cautions for serious offences, and for less serious offences stop them receiving a second caution for the same, or similar, offence committed in a two-year period.
  •     Create four new criminal offences of juror misconduct to ensure fair trials and prevent miscarriages of justice.
  •     Put education at the heart of youth custody by introducing secure colleges, a new form of secure educational establishment for young offenders.
  •     Support economic growth by speeding up the Judicial Review process with measures to drive out meritless claims and get rid of time-wasting delays.