National Statistics: Criminal court statistics quarterly: January to March 2017

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This is the first time data under the new suppliers of language services has been released. The use of interpreter statistics cover face-to-face spoken and non-spoken language interpreter services provided to MOJ bodies including HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). These services are supplied by contractors which changed from 31 October 2016.

This is the annual 2016 criminal courts publication and includes additional information such as representation status of defendants, along with new Crown Court tables which present guilty pleas, waiting time and hearing time by offence groups for the first time, as preannounced last quarter. There is a new table included in the timeliness tables (T1) which covers the duration of Single Justice Procedure (SJP) cases, this will now be part of the quarterly tables pack.

The Crown Court information release is published as management information on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website.

For future publications, the quarterly tables will be made up of M1 to M2, C1 to C8 and T1 to T6. Reasons for ineffective and cracked trials for both magistrates’ courts and Crown Court will now be part of the annual publication, along with timeliness by plea indicators (previously T1, now AT1). The waiting and hearing times data which was previously held in tables C8, C9, C10 and C11, are now held in two tables: table C6 contains all waiting times data and table C7 contains all hearing times data.

Criminal courts

  • In 2016, disposals remained higher than receipts in magistrates’ courts which resulted in the number of outstanding cases dropping by 11% from 327,200 in 2015 to 291,400 in 2016. Provisional figures for Q1 2017 indicate outstanding cases have decreased by a further 1%.
  • In the Crown Court receipts and disposals fell during 2016, by 10% and 6% respectively from 2015. Disposals remained higher than receipts in 2016, continuing to drive the decrease in outstanding cases. Outstanding cases declined further between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017, by 5% to 40,000 cases, the lowest number since Q1 2013.
  • For cases completing in the Crown Court the average number of days from first listing at the magistrates’ court to completion in the Crown Court decreased by 2 days from 196 days in 2015 to 194 days in 2016. This is despite a quarterly peak of 218 days in Q4 2016, the highest of the time series, before decreasing to 178 days in Q1 2017. This decrease is possibly as a result of the courts having cleared some of their backlog of outstanding cases.

Use of language interpreter and translation services

  • The success rate for completed language interpreter and translation service requests was 97% in Q1 2017, similar to Q1 2016.
  • The complaint rate in Q1 2017 was just under 2%, compared to just over 1% in Q1 2016.
  • The total number of ‘off contract’ service requests increased from 220 in Q1 2016 to 370 in Q1 2017. Off contract requests are used when a request cannot be supplied under the contract.

Pre-release

In addition to Ministry of Justice (MOJ) professional and production staff, pre-release access to the quarterly statistics of up to 24 hours is granted to the following postholders:

MOJ

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice; Minister of State for Justice; Ministry of Justice spokesperson in the Lords; Lord Chief Justice; Permanent Secretary; Chief Financial Officer; Director, Criminal Justice Policy; Deputy Director, Criminal Courts Policy; Criminal Court Reform Lead; Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager; Head of Analytical Services; Chief Statistician; Economic adviser to the Secretary of State; Attorney General’s Office; 3 Press Officers and 9 Private Secretaries.

Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Service

Chief Executive, HMCTS; Deputy Chief Executive, HMCTS; Deputy Director of Legal Services, Court Users and Summary Justice Reform; Head of Operational Performance; Head of Criminal Enforcement team, HMCTS; Head of data and management information, HMCTS; Head of Management Information Systems; Jurisdictional Operation manager and Head of Contracted Services and Performance for HMCTS Operations Directorate .

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