Judges and lawyers are at risk of mental ‘collapse’, the new Head of the Family Division warned, stating that ‘wellbeing’ is top of his agenda.

Sir Andrew McFarlane told the annual conference of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group in October that high workloads, long hours and a lack of resources were putting judges and lawyers under immense pressure.

He said the Chair of the Bar reported that judges were emailing barristers late at night and at four o’clock in the morning.

Warning that the justice system faced a ‘serious moment’, Sir Andrew said: ‘People are saying the system will fall over... In fact the system won’t fall over; the system won’t collapse. The system will grind on. What might happen and does happen is that individuals in the system – people will fall over, will collapse.’