Although not dominating the COVID headlines the backlog of legal cases in the UK is taking a heavy toll on everyone from the people involved who are seeking resolution to the legal profession itself. That's the story today, but it was also the story back in 1666 when after a year of plague and then the Great Fire of London, our capital city was crippled by a legal backlog which made economic recovery and the rebuilding that it required all but impossible. The challenge then was to deal with all the cases to do with Landlords and Leaseholders who had lost everything in the fire and so couldn't afford to begin the rebuilding process.
Jonathan is joined by the historian Professor Jay Tidmarsh who will tell the story of the Fire Courts and Fire Judges, set up to deal with the backlog as quickly and efficiently as possible. What they did, how the courts operated and just how much work they got through in less than a decade might provide some ideas for today's legal practitioners. To compare the history with the present Jonathan also hears from the Chair of the Bar Council Amanda Pinto and Sir Ernest Ryder a Lord Justice of Appeal, master of Pembroke College, Oxford and a law reformer.
That's the Long View of Legal Backlogs.
Producer: Tom Alban