Law chief tells of fury at Hamza-style delays

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Extensive delays in cases such as the extradition of radical cleric Abu Hamza are a “source of real fury”, the most senior judge in England and Wales said yesterday.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said any case which takes eight years through a series of legal processes and has still not come to a conclusion was “a source of real fury to me”.

He was responding to a question about Hamza’s extradition to the United States, which has again been put on hold pending a further hearing next week, but stressed he could not comment on any individual case.

“But any case that takes eight years through a whole series of judicial processes to come to a conclusion – and you’ve made the point that it hasn’t yet come to a conclusion – is a source of real fury to me,” Lord Judge said.

“We really can’t have cases taking that long to reach a conclusion. It’s not fair to anybody. It’s not right. And that’s all I can really say about it.”

The Lord Chief Justice went on: “The problem isn’t that there isn’t a limit on the number of appeals.

“The problem is that new points keep coming up and new points are taken and then they go through the process.

“What you need is a process in which all the points which need to be addressed are addressed once and then there is an appeal process and it comes to an end.

“Any case that takes eight years – unless there’s some extraordinary explanation, like the parties don’t want it, they’re not in a hurry – is unacceptable.”