In his introduction to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) review of the legal year 2009/2010, Lord Judge pays tribute to “another year of unremitting commitment” to the administration of justice.

He continues: “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.
“The search for principle takes longer and longer, and in the meantime cases awaiting trial are delayed ...”

Lord Judge also singled out the replacement of the defence of provocation with the concept of “loss of control” as an example.
The Court of Appeal had increased its sitting days to cope with the rise in appeals in the last year, he said, and the pressures were “unrelenting”.