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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Thursday 7 September 2017

How Long Do You Wait for Your Civil Case To Be Heard?

You are a party to a county court small claim which is defended. How long should it take from when the case was started until the final hearing? Twenty Years? The average time is around 38 weeks. You may reckon that's not bad. Actually, it's over six weeks longer than a year ago, according to figures released today. So if corporal punishment was permissible and possible in this situation, the county court would have to take a caning on the left hand.

And on the right hand, it would have to take caning for the latest figures for the time taken for the bigger cases to come on to trial. That's fast track cases (usually involving no more than £25,000 in value and multi-track trials involving higher values).  For the three months to the end of June 2017, they were taking around 56 and a half weeks from beginning to end which is three weeks longer than the same quarter last year.

The volume of county court business was up overall. Claims for a specific amount of money - probably. manly for debt - were at their highest in the April to June 2017 quarter since 2009. Claims for an unspecified sum of money were down. Most of these were for personal injury compensation and they saw a drop of 4% over the same quarter in 2016. Incidentally, it is possible to claim a fixed sum in a personal injury claim  instead of for damages up to  a specified ceiling although it is not often done. There can be advantages to this which I discuss in my book Breaking Law.  Have I mentioned that book before?!!

Both sides had legal representation in 55% of cases which were defended: a drop of 4%