Civil courts

Civil cases are those that do not involve family matters or failure to pay council tax. Civil cases are mainly dealt with by county courts and typically relate to debt (these generally being issued for a specified amount of money), the repossession of property, personal injury (these generally being issued for an unspecified amount of money), the return of goods and insolvency. Particularly important, complex or substantial cases are instead dealt with in the High Court.

See civil justice statistics at MOJ for further information.


Total claims

The process of taking a person(s) or company to court regarding a civil (non-family) matter begins with a person (the claimant) either completing a claim form and taking it to a court or completing a claim form online.

Show as: chart | table

Period Total claims
Jan 2000 to Dec 2000 1,943,513
Jan 2001 to Dec 2001 1,805,637
Jan 2002 to Dec 2002 1,743,339
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 1,718,883
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 1,723,371
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 1,968,894
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 2,115,491
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 1,944,812
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 1,993,828
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 1,803,221
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 1,550,626
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 1,504,243
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 1,394,230
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 1,445,339
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 1,594,596
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 1,562,065
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 1,802,286
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 2,048,446
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 2,073,957
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 2,029,258
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 1,296,188
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 1,582,363

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 1,582,363

Data source Civil justice statistics


Claims defended

Whether the claim is issued online or through the county courts, a copy of the claim form along with a response pack is sent to (served on) the defendant who has 14 days to respond to the claim. The defendant can: do nothing; pay up (either the full amount of the claim or in part); admit the claim and ask for more time to pay (in full or part); and/or dispute (defend) the claim (in full or part).

Show as: chart | table

Period Claims defended
Jan 2000 to Dec 2000 248,167
Jan 2001 to Dec 2001 252,176
Jan 2002 to Dec 2002 263,384
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 264,379
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 258,096
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 275,138
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 292,115
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 338,616
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 298,796
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 315,963
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 290,889
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 275,918
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 259,585
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 262,872
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 264,701
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 264,545
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 284,328
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 297,936
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 298,055
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 298,605
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 250,087
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 275,904

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 275,904

Data source Civil justice statistics


Claims allocated to track

If the claim is defended, the usual procedure is for further information to be provided by the parties, following which the case is allocated by a judge to one of three case-management tracks: small claim track, fast track or multi track.

Show as: chart | table

Period Claims allocated to track
Jan 2000 to Dec 2000 152,641
Jan 2001 to Dec 2001 143,486
Jan 2002 to Dec 2002 140,721
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 154,705
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 151,527
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 153,328
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 155,149
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 173,751
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 163,905
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 179,983
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 168,693
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 170,615
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 151,120
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 149,637
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 143,529
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 151,260
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 157,140
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 165,221
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 175,888
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 191,725
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 147,285
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 158,626

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 158,626

Data source Civil justice statistics


Claims gone to trial

Defended cases which are not settled or withdrawn generally result in a small claim hearing or trial.

Show as: chart | table

Period Claims gone to trial
Jan 2000 to Dec 2000 71,233
Jan 2001 to Dec 2001 71,763
Jan 2002 to Dec 2002 68,901
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 65,026
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 62,201
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 63,367
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 62,968
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 69,248
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 63,981
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 64,078
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 60,303
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 52,660
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 46,993
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 43,093
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 45,062
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 48,192
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 51,106
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 56,373
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 58,517
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 64,754
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 45,200
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 53,675

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 53,675

Data source Civil justice statistics