This is the annual 2017 criminal courts publication, which also includes provisional quarterly data for Q1 2018.
The statistics here focus on key trends in case volume and progression through the criminal court system in England and Wales, including statistics on the use of language interpreter and translation services in courts and tribunals. There is also information concerning the enforcement of financial penalties in England and Wales.
There is additional information such as representation status, grounds for sending, key reasons for cracked and ineffective trials, juror summons statistics and timeliness data broken down by plea and offence group.
There are some new tables in the publication, these include; additional breakdowns for representation status across any hearing, the average number of hearings in the Crown Court, an offence breakdown of average number of days taken from offence to completion for Crown court criminal cases, and new Crown Court tables by offence such as grounds for sending and defendants by result and plea. A Criminal court statistics infographic has also been published.
The Crown Court information release is published as management information on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website.
- In magistrates’ courts, receipts decreased by 1% between 2016 and 2017, whilst disposals decreased by 4%. Overall in 2017, receipts were higher than disposals which resulted in the number of outstanding cases increasing by 2% from 291,400 in 2016 to 296,800 at the end of 2017. In contrast, provisional quarterly figures indicate that outstanding cases decreased by 2% from Q4 2017 to 290,500 in Q1 2018.
- In the Crown Court both receipts and disposals fell during 2017, by 2% and 6% respectively from 2016. Disposals remained higher than receipts in 2017, continuing to drive the decrease in outstanding cases to 38,200 at the end of 2017. Outstanding cases declined further between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018, by 7% to 35,400 cases, the lowest number in the quarterly time-series.
- In 2017, the proportion of effective trials in the Crown Court for all offences was 51%. Sexual offences had the highest proportion of effective trials at 79% whilst criminal damage and arson cases had the lowest proportion at 37%. A trial is classified as effective once a jury has been sworn in, regardless of whether they go on to reach a verdict.
- The guilty plea rate was unchanged from 2016 at 67%, after a fall from 70% in 2014, and was the lowest rate since 2006. This is in part due to an increase in sexual offences over the period, which have the lowest guilty plea rate at 35%. The offence group with the highest guilty plea rate was drug offences at 80%.
- Average hearing times for all trial cases have increased slightly from 5.5 hours in 2016 to 5.8 hours in 2017. Since 2014, average hearing times have increased by 1.9 hours to 10.8 hours for fraud offences and by 0.8 hours to 4.7 hours for drug offences.
- In 2017, 95% of Crown Court defendants had known representation at first hearing compared to 93% in 2016. The proportion of defendants dealt with in the Crown Court who had known representation at any hearing has remained stable at 99% throughout the annual time-series.
- For cases completing in the Crown Court the average number of days from first listing at the magistrates’ court to completion in the Crown Court decreased by 19 days from 194 days in 2016 to 175 days in 2017.
Use of language interpreter and translation services
- The success rate for completed language interpreter and translation service requests has increased from 96% in 2016 to 97% in 2017.
- From 2013 to 2015 the complaint rate dropped by 3 percentage points from 4% to 1%, and has remained at 1% in 2016 and 2017.
Criminal Court statistics quarterly, September 2018
The next criminal court statistics quarterly will include the same content as previous quarterly publications. It will also include new juror tables looking at juror summons with an age breakdown.
In addition to Ministry of Justice (MOJ) professional and production staff, pre-release access to the quarterly statistics of up to 24 hours is granted to the following postholders:
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice; Minister of State for Justice; Ministry of Justice spokesperson in the Lords; Lord Chief Justice; Permanent Secretary; Chief Financial Officer; Director, Criminal Justice Policy; Deputy Director, Criminal Courts Policy; Criminal Court Reform Lead; Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager; Head of Analytical Services; Chief Statistician; Attorney General’s Office; 9 Press Officers and 11
Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Service:
Chief Executive, HMCTS; Deputy Chief Executive, HMCTS; Deputy Director of Legal Services, Court Users and Summary Justice Reform; Head of Operational Performance; Head of Criminal Enforcement team, HMCTS; Head of data and management information, HMCTS; Head of Management Information Systems; Head of Communications; Head of News; Jurisdictional Operation manager and Head of Contracted Services and Performance for HMCTS Operations Directorate.