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Criminal court statistics delayed over quality concerns

By Bianca Castro >>

(3 July 2024)

Quarterly criminal court statistics have been delayed for quality assurance following ‘concerns about the quality of key data inputs’, it has emerged. The Ministry of Justice was due to release the latest statistics into the volume of cases received through the criminal court in England and Wales, including figures on case timelines, on 27 June. 

But the evening before the data, covering January to March 2024, was due to be published, an announcement was made stating cancellation of the release and giving no date as to future publication.

In a statement the MoJ said: ‘The release of these statistics has been postponed for further quality assurance following concerns about the quality of key data inputs. This is in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.’

An MoJ spokesman said: ‘In line with the Code of Practice for Statistics, we have delayed publication while HMCTS reviews the data that underpins the criminal court statistics. We will publish the statistics when the review is complete.’

The review has yet to be completed and the MoJ said it could not answer questions about how the concerns came to light or when the review started or was expected to finish.

The last criminal court statistics, covering October to December 2023 and published earlier this year, showed the Crown court backlog at a record high. The data revealed the backlog reached 67,573 between October and December 2023, up from 62,628 on the same quarter in 2022. The number of outstanding cases open for over a year continued to rise and represented 28% of the outstanding caseload.

The MoJ confirmed that this is not the first time publication of court statistics has been delayed. 

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)