The criminal courts are facing their biggest cash crisis in decades after a warning to judges and magistrates of a £90 million shortfall in the budget for the justice system. Judges and magistrates in England and Wales have been told of the emergency, which is likely to result in trial delays, cancelled court sittings and redundancies.
Not good, eh? So, what\’s happened?
Huge fee rises from May of up to 2,500 per cent are thought to be deterring people from using the courts: applications in care cases by local authorities, for instance, have dropped by 25 per cent since May.
Local authorities were faced with a rise in the cost of bringing care applications from £150 to £4,825 and it is feared that they are being more cautious about taking cases to court or waiting longer before seeking the court’s help — which could put children at risk. But the Government is determined to charge full-cost fees so that the courts become self-financing.
Are we ruled by complete morons?
A functioning legal system is a public good. The effects of people being able to enforce contracts, the ability to gain justice in a prompt and equitable manner, are both non-rivalrous and non-excludable. They are therefore things which should rightly (even if not in their totality) be paid for from taxes. It\’s the insistence that users must pay the full costs of the courts system itself which is the error.
Indeed, if they knew a little more of their history they would know that the existence of the very Kingdom itself depends to some extent upon the development of the system of King\’s Justice.
Even in the most minarchist (as opposed to anarchist) State it\’s still assumed that taxes and government will deal with defence and the legal system.
So here we have our rulers deciding to abandon one of the core functions of the State while haring off after things (like criminalising the purchase of sex) which are none of the State\’s damn business.
So, umm, yes, we are ruled by complete morons.