Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Annual Report 2009/10

From the introduction, by the Lord Chief Justice:

“It has been another year of unremitting commitment to the administration of criminal justice. That is as it should be. What remains less tolerable is the continuing burden of comprehending and applying impenetrable legislation, primarily but not exclusively in relation to sentencing.

“The search for the legislative intention in the context of criminal justice legislation makes unreasonable demands on the intellectual efforts of judges and lawyers. It all takes time, very much more time than it took even a decade ago, to grapple with the difficulties. The difficulties are not confined to the workings of this Court: they apply to every Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court throughout the jurisdiction.

“…It is, for example, inevitable that some extremely vexing questions will arise as we struggle to follow the legislative intention which removed the former partial defence to murder (provocation) and replaced it with the new concept of ‘loss of control’, with its qualifying triggers.

“Some of the problems both of substantive and procedural law addressed by the Court this year are discussed in the text of the Review. They provide a thumbnail sketch of the work of the Court, which perhaps fails to convey that the Court has faced an increasing number of appeals against both sentence and conviction, and applications for leave to appeal against sentence and conviction, and that the number of sitting days in the court has been increased in order to try and ensure that these cases are dealt with as quickly as reasonably practicable. The process does not come without a price in the form of increased pressures elsewhere.”