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 statistics at MOJ.


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.

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

Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 2,073,957


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).

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

Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 298,055


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.

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

Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 175,888


Claims gone to trial

Defended cases which are not settled or withdrawn generally result in a small claim hearing or trial.

Claims gone to trial
Year Claims gone to trial
2018 60,218
2017 58,502
2016 52,926
2015 48,192
2014 45,062
2013 43,093
2012 46,993
2011 52,660
2010 60,303
2009 64,078
2008 63,981
2007 69,248
2006 62,968
2005 63,367
2004 62,201
2003 65,026
2002 68,901
2001 71,763
2000 71,233

Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 60,218