Project: Swift and Certain Justice

In partnership with the Hadley Trust

Project team: Ellie Covell, Strategy and Insight Manager | Callyane Desroches, Senior Analyst

Friday 28 June 2019

Over the last 15 years there has been a growing emphasis on swiftness and certainty in the criminal justice system – where processes are dealt with in as timely a manner as possible and sanctions are clear and definite. In the current climate of increasing recorded crime and decreasing charge and conviction rates, the time is right to re-examine how these principles can inform conceptions of effective justice.

While there is evidence to suggest that swift and certain justice programmes are effective in the rehabilitation of offenders and the prevention of crime, this is mixed. This project will research the principles of swift and certain justice and where and when in the system they are most impactful and what other factors may also be important.

What are we doing?

We are exploring when and how the principles of swift and certain are most effective in the criminal justice system from the perspective of offences, offenders, victims and the wider public.

We have identified four themes as areas for particular focus in terms of their implications for a swift and certain justice approach. Each of these are being explored in terms of the effectiveness of justice interventions and the prevention of crime:

  • Domestic Violence

  • Restorative Justice

  • Anti-social behaviour

  • Prolific offenders

Our initial review of how swift and certain justice is currently embedded in the system will include the state of the criminal justice system, where targets are in place and evidence of swift and certain performance currently impacting across the core criminal justice agencies. We will then further explore the themes above in partnership with local areas.

The outputs from this project will be a clear blueprint for how our proposed approach could be embedded within the system more widely and a report setting out our findings and recommendations for how swift and certain principles could be better incorporated in the criminal justice system.

Contact us

We are looking for areas, experts and interested parties with particular insight to share, particularly on the offence types set out above. If you are interested in participating in this project, you can find out more about us here, or email or


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