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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what were the (a) mean and (b) median waiting times in weeks for trials where the defendants entered a not guilty plea for a murder charge in each Crown Court in England and Wales in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2018.
The information requested about Crown Court waiting times for trials where the defendants entered a not guilty plea for a murder charge in 2010 and 2018 can be found in the attached excel document.
Last year saw a 12% reduction in Crown Court trial cases and the allocation of sitting days reflects this. Waiting times for trials in the Crown Court for 2018 have been the lowest since 2014, despite the challenge of increasingly complex cases.
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 appropriate. Demand has been falling in recent years and sitting days have been reduced accordingly. The abolition of committal hearings in 2013 transferred the file preparation period from the magistrates’ court to the Crown Court and so comparisons between pre-2013 data and post-2013 data do not compare like with like.
We will continue to review demand and performance in the Crown Courts and will ensure they have the resources they require.