The Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly recently published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), has identified yet further increases in the level of County Court claims activity across England and Wales.
As previously reported, figures for January to March 2017 (Q1) were already the highest since 2009. However, April to June 2017 (Q2) has proved to be busier still for the County Courts.
According to the MoJ:
- A total of 564,711 County Court claims were commenced in Q2, an increase of 40% on the same quarter of 2016;
- Specified money claims (where the claim is for a set amount of money and which are often issued in large numbers by credit card, utility and debt collection companies), increased to 457,000 in Q2, up 54% on the same period last year; and
- Unspecified money claims (which are likely to include many professional negligence claims), decreased slightly, from 37,700 in Q1 to 35,000 in Q2.
Should this trend continue, it is likely to put further pressure on court operating budgets, which have already been significantly squeezed as part of the government’s austerity drive. For court users, and without additional funding from central government, the wheels of justice could well slow, increasing the time it takes them to resolve their claims and recover the losses they seek. In this event, litigants may become increasingly inclined to turn to such alternative forms of dispute resolution as mediation, adjudication and arbitration.
You can view the full MoJ report here.