Courts fail to achieve performance targets

Her Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS) missed eight of its 12 performance targets in the past financial year, its annual report has revealed.

As part of the failed targets, the crown court overshot its number of sitting days by more than 1,600, sitting 105,810 days, while the target was 104,200.

The court was also looking to reduce the number of ineffective trials by 14.2 per cent, but missed its aim by 2.7 percentage points, decreasing ineffective trials by 11.5 per cent.

The service had planned that 78 per cent of cases committed for trial would begin within 16 weeks, but it missed that goal by 11 percentage points.

In the county court the interim target of dealing with no less than 49 per cent of cases in 40 weeks was missed by 6.9 percentage points, putting the court’s performance at 42.1 per cent.

Despite these failings HMCS met its aim of resolving half of any breaches of community penalty enforcement.

The report also revealed a 70 per cent reduction in interim hearings between first hearing and trial, while 59 per cent of guilty pleas are sentenced at first hearing.

Sir Ron De Witt, HMCS chief executive, said that while the service had marginally missed some targets, it had nevertheless achieved a lot in the two years since it was established.

“HMCS worked with partners to bring 1.3 million offences to justice, resulting in more than 900,000 convictions,” he said. “It issued more than one million claims for monies owed, received 150,000 petitions for divorce, handled more than 100,000 child protection cases and granted probate in almost 300,000 cases.”