This report presents the latest statistics on cases that are received and processed through the court system of England and Wales in the first quarter of 2013 (January to March).
These statistics focus on three main categories: civil, family and criminal cases. This edition also includes supplementary information on specialised courts functions including the Judicial Reviews, application under the Mental Capacity Act and the assessment of litigation costs, and publicly funded legal services.
To find further information on the topics covered in this publication please see ‘A Guide to Court and Administrative Justice Statistics’ which is published alongside this report. We welcome feedback on this document and on the proposed changes we have to future publications of Court Statistics Quarterly. If you would like to provide feedback please see the contacts page at the back of this report.
These statistics are used to monitor the type and volume of cases that are received and processed through the court system of England and Wales. Seasonal variations affecting the workload of the courts may impact on comparisons with other periods. Because the figures for the latest quarter are provisional, the numbers and trends highlighted in the commentary may be subject to revision in the future.
Civil (excluding family) cases
- In Q1 2013, courts dealt with 357,000 new claims and 11,000 hearings or trials. These represent a reduction of around 26 and 38 per cent respectively in workload figures since 2007.
- Historically, just over 3.5 per cent of all claims issued have gone to hearing or trial.
- There were 11,000 insolvency petitions continuing the downward trend seen since 2009, after more than doubling between 2001 and 2009.
- The number of applications across family courts remained at around 70,000 in Q1 2013 with the majority (44 per cent) being divorce applications.
- The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application continued to drop to 42 weeks (down 24 per cent from Q1 2012).
- In Q1 2013 magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court held 48,000 trial hearings, of which 45 per cent were recorded as effective; 38 per cent as cracked and 17 per cent as ineffective. These figures have remained stable since 2009.
- The average number of days taken from offence to completion in either the magistrates’ courts or the Crown Court increased slightly to 161 days in Q1 2013. However, timeliness between first listing to completion remained at 33 days.
- Between 2007 and 2012 there has been an increase of 86 per cent in applications lodged, with the growth driven by Judicial Reviews on immigration and asylum.
- In 2007 six per cent of all applications reached a final hearing and three per cent decided in favour of the claimant.
The Mental Capacity Act
- In 2012, there were 25,000 applications made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, an increase of six per cent since 2011. The majority of these (60 per cent) relate to applications for appointment of a property and affairs deputy.
Assessment of litigation costs, and publicly funded legal services
- In 2012, 95,000 applications for legal aid were made in magistrates’ courts for representation in trial and committed for sentence cases at the Crown Court. This represents a decrease of 13 per cent on the previous year and continues the decreasing trend of applications observed since the introduction of Crown Court means testing in June 2010.
- For 2011/12 the Legal Services Commission delivered nearly 2.5 million acts of assistance, a decrease of nine per cent compared to the previous year. Total cash payments and net expenditure for all publicly funded legal services were also down compared to the previous year by two and three per cent respectively.
Also being published are detailed breakdowns of the headline court caseload and timeliness statistics, broken down by court or Local Justice Area. More information can be found at open.justice.gov.uk.
The bulletin is produced and handled by the ministry’s analytical professionals and production staff.
In addition to Ministry of Justice professional and production staff, pre-release access to the provisional court statistics of up to 24 hours is granted to the following postholders:
Ministry of Justice: Secretary of State, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister of State (Policing and Criminal Justice), Permanent Secretary, Director General of Finance and Public Services, Head of Legal Services Commission, Head of Analytical Services, Chief Executive, Chief Statistician, Policy Advisor (Civil Justice), Policy Advisor (Public Law), Policy Advisor (Private Law and Matrimonial Justice), five Press Officers and Relevant Special Advisers.
Her Majesty’s Court Service: Chief Executive, Director of Civil, Family and Tribunals, Deputy Director of Civil and Family, Director of Crime, Head of Civil Operations Branch, Head of Family Performance & Management Information , Head of Crown Court Improvement Branch, Head of Criminal Enforcement, and Jurisdictional and Operational Support Officer (Magistrates).