Trials

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of Siobhain McDonagh Siobhain McDonagh Labour, Mitcham and Morden

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average waiting time was for a (a) rape, (b) murder, (c) GBH and (d) robbery trial in each year since 2010.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We have interpreted waiting time to refer to the time between the date of sending a case to the Crown Court and the start of the substantive Crown Court hearing.

The average waiting times of defendants dealt with in rape, murder, GBH and robbery trial cases where a not guilty plea was entered in the Crown Court can be found in the below table based on published annual data from 2014 to 2023. Data prior to 2014 is not available.

While the Crown Court is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic and disruptive action from the Bar, which reduced our ability to hear cases swiftly, the latest published statistics show that the median age of cases that are outstanding was around 6 months.

We are committed to ensuring the delivery of swift justice for all victims and have introduced a raft of measures to achieve that aim. This includes funding around 107,000 sitting days during the most recent financial year (FY23,24), recruiting up to 1,000 judges annually across all jurisdictions and investing in the continued use of 20 Nightingale courtrooms into this financial year (FY24/25) to allow the courts to work at full capacity.

Judges do prioritise cases involving vulnerable complainants and witnesses, and seek to ensure that domestic abuse, serious sexual offences and those with vulnerable witnesses are listed at the first available opportunity. The Senior Presiding Judge has also recently announced that all rape cases outstanding for more than two years at court will be listed by the end of July 2024.

Average waiting times (weeks) of defendants dealt with in rape, murder, GBH and robbery for-trial cases where a not guilty plea was entered in the Crown Court, annually, 2014 - 2023

Rape

Murder

GBH

Robbery

Year

Median

Mean

Median

Mean

Median

Mean

Median

Mean

2014

27.6

29.5

25.0

26.3

26.6

30.1

23.9

24.5

2015

28.9

31.8

25.7

28.8

28.0

33.0

24.4

28.4

2016

28.0

30.9

24.3

23.1

25.9

33.4

24.0

27.3

2017

28.8

31.5

24.0

24.6

24.9

30.5

22.6

24.6

2018

29.6

32.9

23.7

23.7

24.7

28.9

22.6

23.4

2019

26.7

30.1

24.6

24.5

24.1

26.7

22.9

23.2

2020

30.6

32.5

25.5

28.9

27.0

31.4

25.4

27.8

2021

41.0

44.8

32.6

36.9

36.7

44.0

33.9

39.4

2022

39.7

44.4

33.0

36.6

35.9

46.7

32.4

43.1

2023

41.7

48.2

33.6

38.5

36.9

50.3

29.7

47.6

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