Not great if you are in a hurry…

See below for the latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice about the length of time taken by different types of cases and their wider comments on plans to reduce these.  Not great if you are in a hurry…

Ministy of Justice Logo

The Ministry of Justice has today published court statistics, which for the first time show the average duration of civil and family cases at every County Court.  These statistics, which support the case for a comprehensive reform programme across the justice system, also show the duration of criminal cases at every Crown Court and local magistrates’ court group.  This will enable the public to see how quickly cases are handled at their local court, and to compare it to other courts across England and Wales.

The new timeliness statistics showed that in July to September 2011, on average:

  • Care proceedings took 55 weeks.
  • Hearings for small claims (under £5,000) in civil courts took place 30 weeks after the claim was originally made. The figure was 57 weeks for higher value cases, which are dealt with by a different process.
  • Criminal cases were completed 152 days after the offence.

Ministers have already committed to a series of reforms to speed up the justice process. Measures include improved technology, more use of mediation to solve civil and family disputes, and simplifying processes to reduce delays and frustration for victims and witnesses of crime.

The Government’s reform programme extends across the family, civil and criminal justice systems.  For example, on family justice,  the Government will introduce a six month time limit for care cases to be completed, so that the system provides the best service to those at the heart of the system – children.  On civil justice, one of the measures in the Government’s proposals that were published last year was to give thousands more people the opportunity to consider telephone-based mediation as a simpler, quicker way to resolve their differences rather than going to court.  And on criminal justice, the Government has set out its intentions to abolish unnecessary committal hearings for ‘either way’ crimes to help save thousands of hours of court time each year.

The Government will publish its full response to the Family Justice Review and civil justice consultation shortly.

One Comment to “Not great if you are in a hurry…”

  1. Interesting to have some official numbers on this. My experience working in a SDVC was that summary only offences were dealt with efficiently and often within 6 working weeks if a trial was required. However, I have waited over a year for a Crown court trial several times and this delay can diminish the value of the process for victims of crime who are looking to move on in their lives.

    The Criminal systems processes could be improved in simple ways; clients value having a set court date as floating dates can cause heightened anxiety and distress. Whilst the removal of commital hearings sounds promising, it is important to remember that for victims of crime the names of these hearings and their content are often meaningless as victims of crime will often focus on the hearings that they will be involved in or will impact them directly. Our criminal system can be very complex and there are limited resources in existence which explain it in an accessible way.

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