Magistrates' Courts

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 11th November 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many times magistrates' courts hearings in each district have had to be postponed for lack of (a) prosecution preparedness, (b) the failure of Capita interpreters' contract, (c) lack of availability of court and (d) any other reason in the last year.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Data are published in Court Statistics Quarterly showing the number of trials in magistrates’ courts which are ineffective or postponed on the day of trial. This is for a variety of agreed reasons, including “Prosecution not ready”, “Interpreter availability” and “Court administration”. However, this only includes cases that have been listed for trial and are adjourned, not for any other hearings, such as preliminary hearings, guilty plea hearings or sentencing. HMCTS does not centrally collate the data on adjourned hearings, other than trials, and the reasons behind the adjournment.

The volume of trials listed in magistrates’ courts, and those which were ineffective, are published in Table 3.5 of Court Statistics Quarterly which can be found at:

The national Criminal Justice Board, chaired by my Rt Hon Friend the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, is overseeing the Transforming Summary Justice programme, a collaboration between police, CPS and the courts to ensure that cases in the magistrates’ courts are prepared and prosecuted in a timely and efficient manner. It is currently being rolled out.

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