Further delays in Civil Courts

Civil Justice Statistic for April to June 2022 have been released and they make for some concerning reading. Whilst there has been a decrease in County Court claims  (down 5% compared to the same quarter last year) and an increase in the number of default Judgments (4%) compared to last year, the time taken for claims on all tracks to reach trail has increased (50.8 weeks for small claims, 1.6 weeks longer than 12 months ago and 75 weeks for fast and multi track claims, 3.9 weeks longer than 12 weeks ago.

Naturally one would have hoped that the reduction in the number of claims and the removal of covid restrictions would result in less delays. It is clear that the County Courts are still struggling with a enormous Covid backlog, on top of what were already considerable pre-Covid delays. Whilst these backlogs are worse in some parts of the Country, they are appalling all over England and Wales.  It was recently reported in the Law Gazette that Claimants are waiting 394 days until their first Case Management Conference in Bournemouth, 424 for Reading and 426 for Chelmsford. Even courts considered good performers, such as Yorkshire and Humber, have a 236 day wait.

Unfortunately, whilst delays in the Criminal Courts have received considerable publicity, sparking further funding and intervention, there has been considerably less interest in the rapid decline of the Civil Justice System. Unfortunately civil practitioners are having to resign to the fact that the delays are here to stay.

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