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Latest Ministry of Justice court statistics

Criminal and family court statistics

09 October 2019
Latest Ministry of Justice court statistics

The latest Ministry of Justice (MOJ) court statistics have been published.

Criminal court statistics

The January - March 2019 criminal court statistics key findings include:

  • Magistrates’ workload has fallen over the past three years, with consistent falls in ‘for trial’ cases. Receipts for ‘for trial’ cases fell by 10% in 2018 compared to the previous year. This is broadly in line with annual decreases reported in the number of offences the police resolve with a charge/summons (down 9% in the 12 months to December 2018) and proceedings at magistrates court (down 10% over the same period).
  • The total number of trials in magistrates’ courts have tended to fall since a peak in 2007, with 123,023 trials in 2018 the lowest since 2003. Of these trials, the proportion that are effective has been gradually increasing between 2003 and 2015, after which the point the proportion has stayed level at around 45% to 46% of all trials listed.
  • The proportion of ineffective trials in magistrates’ court has mirrored the trends in that of effective, falling between 2003 and 2015, after which it levelled at around 15% to 16% up to the current quarter. The most common reasons for an ineffective trail continue to be ‘court administration’ (27%) and ‘defendant absent/unfit to stand’ (24%).
  • The number of Single Justice Procedure cases has increased each year since implementation in 2015, accounting for 57% of all completions at the magistrates’ courts in the Quarter 1 (Q1) of 2019. Since its introduction, the majority (87%) of SJP cases are listed and completed at the magistrates’ court on the same day.
  • Total financial impositions increased by 8% in Q1 2019 to £155m, which is largely due to a £7.5m (8%) increase in fines. The value of total outstanding financial impositions continued to rise, reaching £1.14 billion in Q1 2019. 

Family court statistics

The April to June 2019 family court statistics key findings include:

  • Overall, 64,813 new cases started in the family court, decreasing 5% from April-June 2018.
  • 13,424 private law cases started, up 3% on April-June 2018. Applications also increased by 3%.
  • The number of domestic violence remedy order applications made increased by 16%; the number of orders made increased by 11%.
  • 1,230 adoption applications were made, down 2% from April-June 2018. 1,202 adoption orders were issued; a 6% decrease.
  • The average time for care or supervision cases to reach first disposal was 33 weeks, over two weeks higher than in April-June 2018. 41% of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – decreasing 7%.


The data continues to show diminishing legal representation for parties:

  • The proportion of disposals where neither party had legal representation was 39%, up 1% on April-June 2018 (up 25% since Jan-March 2013).
  • In 18% of cases, both parties were represented; a decrease of 1% from the same period in 2018, and a decrease of 23% since Jan-March 2013.
  • Cases involving domestic abuse: ­2,007 were disposed of where neither party had legal representation, increasing from 1,709 in April-June 2018. In 530 cases, both parties were represented, down from 537 in April-June 2018, a downward trend despite overall cases increasing.
  • Private law: 9,343 cases were brought where neither party was represented – an increase from 8,410 in April-June 2018. There were 4,430 cases where both parties were represented, a slight increase on 4,273 in April-June 2018.
  • Public law: in 458 cases only the applicant was represented, increasing from 430 in April-June 2018 – while it is very rare in these cases for applicants to be unrepresented, cases where both parties were represented decreased from 6,558 in the same quarter last year to 5,644.
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