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| 1 minute read

Inquiry into County Court Capacity and Resources

The Justice Committee has launched an inquiry into County Courts in response to long-standing issues relating to capacity and resources which in turn is causing significant delays in the judicial system. 

This is long overdue as anyone who works in the County Court will know that it can take an inordinate amount of time to get a hearing (even in emergency situations) and/or trial date, get through to a court if you are even able to speak to someone, and hearings are vacated at last minute due to over-listing and judicial unavailability. The announcement for the inquiry notes that the average time for matters to get to trial was between 52.3 and 78.2 weeks. This is stark data and illustrates the unacceptable delay in resolving legal disputes, which only serves to push up costs and extend uncertainty for the parties. 

Court reform has long been promised and this has a prominent role in the Renters Reform Bill. However, we saw only last week upon the second reading of the Bill that the abolition of s.21 notices has been pushed back until “sufficient progress” has been made with court reform. So it seems that the Government does see the issues being faced by users of the County Court. 

A call for written evidence has been made by the Justice Committee with submissions required by Thursday 14 December 2023.  The terms of reference address every element of the operation of County Courts which is positive as the Justice Committee will obtain a full view of the issues encountered with the current system. 

During the inquiry, the Committee will take evidence from claimant and defendant firms, representative bodies and NGOs and the Civil Justice minister Lord Bellamy KC. So if you would like to have a say and a voice in the inquiry, get your submissions in with examples of your experience of the County Court system.

“The work of the County Court shouldn’t be the Cinderella of the justice system.”


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