Litigants Now Wait 78 Weeks for Their County Court Date
BY JOHN HYDE
Delays in the UK county court system have reached alarming levels, with litigants now waiting an average of 78 weeks for their day in court. The pandemic is cited as a factor contributing to the delays, as the MoJ is working on modernising and digitising court system to improve efficiency. Rather than being stuck in the wait for a court date, mediation offers faster, cost-effective resolutions, making it a compelling alternative to alleviate the current backlog in the legal system. Mediation empowers parties to control the outcome, preserve relationships, maintain confidentiality, and reduce emotional stress.
Multi- or fast track claims now take an average of 18 months to come to trial, as delays continue to worsen in the civil courts.
The latest civil justice statistics produced by the Ministry of Justice for the period between April and June this year show that it took on average 78.2 weeks for these claims to reach a trial. This was 2.8 weeks longer than in the same period in 2022 and way beyond any pre-pandemic figures. The highest waiting time in the decade before Covid was 61 weeks.
In April to June 2023, it took an average of 52.3 weeks between a small claim being issued and the claim going to trial, one week longer than the same period in 2022.
The MoJ said that the pandemic had led to an uptick in time taken for all claims to reach trial. Previously, a sustained period of rising receipts had increased the time taken to hear civil cases and caused delays to case progress.