Inquiry into efficiency of County Courts : Have your say
The Justice Committee is responsible for examining the policies and spending of the Ministry of Justice and associated public bodies, including the courts.
Official data shows that the time taken from claim to hearing is continuing to rise. Therefore, because of persistent delays in cases being dealt with, it has launched an inquiry into the processes of the County Courts.
The Chair of the Justice Committee Sir Bob Neill said:
“… claims data shows the situation is worsening not improving and it’s right the Committee examines this deterioration and takes evidence from those impacted by delays, staffing levels, access, as well as other issues.”
Current waiting times for possession claims:
It takes at least three to nine months for a possession claim to be dealt with by the county courts from start to finish.
It’s evident that the current systems and processes are far from maximum efficiency. This was highlighted when the government announced it will delay the scrapping of Section 21 Notices until the problems have been ironed out.
The Committee invites evidence submissions by Thursday, 14 December 2023 on:
- The current level of court delays
- The extent of any regional variations, and the effect of delays on litigants and the administration of justice
- The ways in which the County Court engages with litigants in person, and how this could be improved
- The accessibility of court buildings for people with disabilities
- The condition of the court estate, and its effect on the work of the County Court
- The use of technology and how it could be used to improve the service provided
- The effect of the court reform programme, including the new Online Civil Money Claims service and the Damages Claims service
- The current level of fees and the approach taken to court costs and how the fees collected are used as part of the current funding arrangements
- Whether there is sufficient judicial capacity in the courts, and the steps to improve judicial capacity
- Whether there is sufficient staffing
- The causes of action giving rise to court claims
- The current procedural mechanisms used by the County Court to resolve disputes
- The quality of data available on the work of the courts; and
- What future reforms should be considered.
Possible causes of delays
- Shortages of specialist Judges
- Understaffed administrative teams
- Lack of adapting to new technology
- Increase of possession claims through the courts
We watch with interest to see if this inquiry bears fruit and yields any improvements. It is fundamental for these processes to be improved if landlords are to stay in the private rental sector and if the reforms to the law currently moving through parliament are to be effective.
This content was prepared in collaboration with The Lettings Hub by Leo Aiken of award-winning Woodstock Legal Services.
Woodstock Legal Services are specialists in legal advice and solutions for the Private Rental Sector.
We would urge you to participate in the inquiry, as it’s vital representation from across the industry is heard and understood. A link to the enquiry is here