The lord chancellor has said parts of the criminal justice system are in "general chaos".
Lord Falconer said the system 'needed to be made better'
Lord Falconer made the remark during a light-hearted discussion with delegates at the annual Bar Council conference.
He was responding to a barrister who asked him if he thought there was poor communication between police, prosecutors and courts' legal advisers.
Liberal Democrat spokesman Nick Clegg said the government's legacy was "shameless populism on law and order".
Lord Falconer told delegates in west London: "There is general chaos in a number of cases.
"Not in all cases and it is getting better. We all need to try and make it better."
The question came from barrister Edward Grayson.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg added: "Finally a government minister has admitted what has been widely suspected for some time.
"Overflowing prisons, heightened public fear of crime and some of the highest refunding rates in the western world are the legacy of this government's shameless populism on law and order."
Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust described the lord chancellor's honesty as "amazing".
Mr Brennan said: "At last the government has no alternative to admit what is blatantly obvious and that is that the criminal justice system is chaos.
"The public have lost confidence in the criminal justice system, so have the police, and so have the victims of crime."
The BBC's political correspondent Robin Brant said the prime minister wants to see more summary powers for the police to "reduce the number of cases going through a court system that he thinks is outdated".