lady justice

New government figures show Civil Justice delays continue to climb

Posted on Wed, 08/06/2022

The latest Civil Justice Quarterly figures were published by the Ministry of Justice on 1 June 2022 and continue to show that waiting times to get cases to court are rocketing.

The data shows no signs of improvement for consumers who have to use the civil justice system. For small claims, the current average waiting times stand at almost a year, three months longer than pre-pandemic levels (Q1 2020) and over 20 weeks longer than the equivalent period in 2014. 

Additionally, fast and multi-track trials cases continue to see some of the highest waiting times since 2009, now totalling over 16 months. 

Years of cuts mean that access to civil justice is deteriorating, and bringing uncertainty, stress and confusion to claimants who want to get on with their lives. 

Ministers cannot shrug their shoulders while people have to wait a year or more for their case to come to court. Meaningful action is urgently needed. 

Though the delays paint a troubling national picture, new research into regional disparities by ACSO and Express Solicitors show justice has become a postcode lottery. The East of England is the worst performer, followed closely by the South East and the North East. 

What's more, two out of the top five worst performing courts are found in the 50 most income-deprived local authority areas in England. Despite the government's levelling up agenda, those in the poorest areas of the country risk being disproportionally denied access to justice. 

The newly appointed Minister of Civil Justice, Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, has a lot to consider.