Courts

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average length of time was between first court appearance and trial in (a) magistrates courts and (b) Crown courts in each of the last five years.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The information requested can be found in Table 1 and 2 below.

Table 1 - Average number of days first listing to trial start date, for magistrates’ trial cases in England and Wales, excluding those committed to the Crown Court, 2014 to 2018.

Year

Number of defendants with completed cases

First listing to trial start date (number of days)

Mean

Median

2014

187,383

63

59

2015

196,199

68

61

2016

179,042

58

53

2017

171,862

54

49

2018

173,486

53

46

Notes

(1) Trial is identified here based on whether there is a valid “trial start date” entered into the magistrates’ court administrative system (Libra). It is possible that trial cases without valid start dates have been removed from the analysis.

(2) Includes cases with an offence to completion time greater than 10 years but excludes a small number of cases with identified data quality issues and breaches.

(3) Statistics are sourced from linked magistrates’ courts and Crown Court administrative data systems - with a match rate of around 95%.

(4) Only one offence is counted for each defendant in the case. If there is more than one offence per defendant that complete on the same day, a set of validation rules applies to select one offence only and to the longest duration, seriousness and the lowest sequence number of the offence.

(5) Includes cases completed in the magistrates’ courts during the specified time period, where no further action is required by the magistrates’ court.

(6) Excludes cases that are committed to the Crown Court.

(7) From Q2 2015, the figures include Single Justice Procedure cases that were committed within magistrates’ courts in England and Wales, introduced in June 2015.

(8) Timeliness tables include TFL ATCM (automated track case management) cases which started in April 2017.

Table 2 - Average number of days first listing to main hearing, for completed Crown Court trial cases in England and Wales, 2014 to 2018.

Year

Number of defendants with completed cases

First listing to trial start date (number of days)

Mean

Median

2014

76,531

138

112

2015

76,819

157

121

2016

69,563

155

123

2017

64,591

147

124

2018

56,738

147

127

Notes

(1) Trial is identified based on the “case type” variable (e.g. case_type =T), this is recorded at the point of receipt into the Crown Court and it is possible that not all cases went on to trial.

(2) Includes cases with an offence to completion time greater than 10 years but excludes a small number of cases with identified data quality issues and breaches.

(3) Includes all criminal cases which have received a verdict and concluded in the specified time period in the Crown Court.

(4) Statistics are sources from linked magistrates’ courts and Crown Court administrative data systems - with a match rate of around 95%.

(5) Only one offence is counted for each defendant in the case. If there is more than one offence per defendant that complete on the same day, a set of validation rules applies to select one offence only and these relate to the longest duration, seriousness and the lowest sequence number of the offence.

(6) Around 95% of defendants have a main hearing date.

(7) A median value of 0 indicates that the case had a first listing and was completed on the same day.

(8) Committal proceedings were abolished nationally on 28 May 2013. Triable either-way cases are now sent rather than committed.

Performance, demand and waiting times in the courts are constantly reviewed to balance sitting days with waiting times, disposals and receipts. Resources are adjusted when required. Demand has been falling in recent years and sitting days have been reduced accordingly to ensure the backlog of work remains relatively stable. Waiting times for trials in the Crown Court for 2018 have been the lowest since 2014, despite the challenge of increasingly complex cases.

We will continue to review demand and performance in the Crown Court and magistrates’ court and will ensure they have the resources they require

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