These statistics focus on key trends in case volume and progression through the criminal court system in England and Wales. There is also information concerning the enforcement of financial penalties in England and Wales.
The number of outstanding cases in the Crown Courts has risen through 2013 and 2014. Triable-either-way and indictable only cases rose by 76% and 15% respectively in the fourth quarter of 2014 when compared with the first quarter of 2013.
This increase was, in part, driven by the rise in the magistrates’ courts workload, which saw a 20% increase in Q3 2013 in the receipt of trial cases when compared with Q1 2013. This lead to more cases being sent to the Crown Court for trial and despite disposals rising, it is constantly lower than the number of receipts.
For cases completing at the Crown Court during the fourth quarter 2014, the number of days from offence to completion increased from 304 to 321 days when compared with the first quarter of 2013. However, over the same period time spent in the magistrates’ courts decreased. When comparing the fourth quarter 2014 with the first quarter 2013, the time spent at the magistrates’ courts between first hearing and being sent to the Crown Court fell from 26 to 5 days, whereas the time spent at the Crown Court increased from 139 to 172 days. The decrease in the time spent in the magistrates’ courts was driven by the national abolition of committal hearings.
The average waiting time between the date of sending a case to the Crown Court and the start of the substantive hearing has increased for trial cases. Triable-either-way cases have seen an increase of 5 weeks in average waiting times when comparing fourth quarter 2014 with quarter one 2013 while indictable only cases have seen a 3 week increase over the same period. The increase seen in average waiting time is likely to have been driven by the increase seen in the Crown Court workload.
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:
MoJ: Secretary of State, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister of State (The Courts and Legal Aid), Minister of State (Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims), Permanent Secretary, Director of Victim and Criminal Proceedings, Chief Statistician, Policy Advisor (Criminal Justice), press office and relevant special advisers.
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service: Chief Executive, Director of Crime, Head of Crown Court Improvement Branch, Head of Criminal Enforcement, and Head of Performance, Analysis and Reporting.