Tony Arbour

  • 31,842 trials delayed across England and Wales – more than half due to failings by prosecution or court system
  • London worst performing region at both Crown and Magistrates courts with up to 20% of trials postponed

Almost 32K (31,842) trials in Crown and Magistrates courts were delayed in the UK in 2012, working out at 87 every day of the year. Over 18.5K (18,523) of these trials were delayed due to failings by the prosecution or court administration.

Of all the trials delayed in the UK, 58% of Magistrates court and 61% of Crown court cases, were postponed because of the prosecution not being ready or available, the absence of a prosecution witness, or court administration failings.

London was the worst performing region for both Crown Court cases (16% of trials being classed as ineffective) and joint worst with the Midlands at Magistrates Court level (20% of cases delayed).

Tony Arbour, Conservative London Assembly Member, who uncovered the figures said: 

“These statistics are very worrying. There has been good news recently that has shown that the police are managing to bring down recorded crime with less resources. It isn’t acceptable that when a case comes to trial after all of the police’s investigative work, the prosecution and court service are not up to doing their job. Delayed trials are doing a grave injustice to the victim and adding an unfair burden onto the taxpayer. The Ministry of Justice needs to get its act together and ensure that basic standards are being enforced to make sure that cases are prepared for properly. It isn’t fair on the victim or the police that trials are delayed and put in danger because of avoidable delays. Justice cannot be postponed!”

*The full figures can be found at: