District Judge Paul Mildred has warned the legal aid cuts will heap pressure on the courts, in his first public comments since becoming President of the Association of District Judges.
Judge Mildred said litigants in person would “become the norm” even in “the larger civil claims and difficult family disputes” as a result of the legal aid cuts. This would lead to more court users representing themselves which would increase pressure on the courts. This would be “bad for the litigants and bad for the administration of justice as the duration of cases involving unrepresented litigants inevitably increases and the waiting time for cases to come on for hearing increases with it”.
He said there must be “greater judicial involvement in the running of the courts, particularly in the management of the county court closure programme”, and “more efficient use of the resources we have, including our own time”. It made no sense, he said that Circuit Judges in one area heard fast track cases while District Judges heard them in another.
Judge Mildred sits at Bournemouth Combined Court Centre, and has been a full-time judge for 15 years. He was previously based at Reading County Court.