lady justice

ACSO comments on Q1 2023 Civil Justice Statistics

Posted on Thu, 01/06/2023

Commenting on the latest civil justice statistics, Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of ACSO, said:
“Our civil justice system is used by the vast majority of citizens when they need to access the law, yet it has become a cinderella service after years of government cuts and ministers taking their eye off the ball. The latest data once again underline how badly justice has declined, a point noted in the latest World Justice Project report which found that the UK has slipped from 13th to 20th in the ranking of countries with the most accessible and affordable civil justice system.” 
Turning to the data, Maxwell Scott highlighted that small claims are still taking around a year to reach court (51.9 weeks) and multi/fast track claims 79.9 weeks, an increase of 16 weeks on the same period last year for multi/fast track. Small claims delays are barely changed.   
Maxwell Scott added: “Our own research* conducted with Express Solicitors found that on average, it takes 353 days, almost a year, to wait for the court to hear a case, and the performance of some individual courts is shocking.Our data found that court delays in Dartford are running at 829 days, with the best performer being Blackpool with delays of 79 days. The South east is the worst performing region with an average wait of 462 days, while the North east is the best with an average wait of 251 days."
Concluding, he said: "The Ministry of Justice's own statistics underline that there is a very long road ahead to rescue our civil justice system. What is so disappointing is that there is no clear strategy to resolve these issues, let alone published targets to bring delays down to an acceptable level. Where is the plan? 
"We urge the government to put more resources into reducing the backlog, including setting concrete targets to ensure there is accountability as well as clarity. Ministers have gone missing in recent years; we hope the new justice secretary makes this a top priority." 
Commentary on the latest MoJ civil justice stats:
"The Q1 data for 2023 tells us that the average time in weeks from issue to trial for small claims and separately fast track/ multi track claims has increased again to 51.9 and 79.9 respectively. These two figures are the worst on record for the datasets we have since 2009.
"The comparable average time in weeks from issue to trial for small claims and separately fast track/ multi track claims for 2019 (pre Covid) were 37.2 and 59.4 weeks respectively. This equates to a 40 per cent longer claim duration for small track matters and 35 per cent for fast track/multi track or an extra 14 weeks and 20 weeks respectively.
"This is despite the total annual number of claims being submitted reducing from 2,029,258 in 2019 to 1,537,759 in 2022, which is a reduction of cc 500,000 or 24 per cent.
"ACSO has also assessed the latest data from CCMCC County Court Money Claims Centre which confirms that it is taking 36 working days to just issue a new claim on paper (nearly 2 months) and 60 working days from receipt of application to producing the court order (3 months)."
* For details of the research, please contact