Courts data

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.


Civil courts - 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.

Period Civil courts - total claims
Jan - Dec 2000 1,943,513
Jan - Dec 2001 1,805,637
Jan - Dec 2002 1,743,339
Jan - Dec 2003 1,718,883
Jan - Dec 2004 1,723,371
Jan - Dec 2005 1,968,894
Jan - Dec 2006 2,115,491
Jan - Dec 2007 1,944,812
Jan - Dec 2008 1,993,828
Jan - Dec 2009 1,803,221
Jan - Dec 2010 1,550,626
Jan - Dec 2011 1,504,243
Jan - Dec 2012 1,394,230
Jan - Dec 2013 1,445,339
Jan - Dec 2014 1,594,596
Jan - Dec 2015 1,562,065
Jan - Dec 2016 1,802,286
Jan - Dec 2017 2,048,446
Jan - Dec 2018 2,073,957
Jan - Dec 2019 2,029,258
Jan - Dec 2020 1,296,188
Jan - Dec 2021 1,582,363
Jan - Dec 2022 1,538,846

Jan - Dec 2022

1,538,846

Update Sep 2023

In the 3 months to 30 Sep 2023 there were 448,122 estimated total claims.

Data source

The data source for this measure and more detailed information can be found in the Civil justice statistics (quarterly) publication.

Publication date

Published: 7 December 2023. Next publication: 07 March 2024 9:30am.


Civil courts - 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).

Period Civil courts - claims defended
Jan - Dec 2000 248,167
Jan - Dec 2001 252,176
Jan - Dec 2002 263,384
Jan - Dec 2003 264,379
Jan - Dec 2004 258,096
Jan - Dec 2005 275,138
Jan - Dec 2006 292,115
Jan - Dec 2007 338,616
Jan - Dec 2008 298,796
Jan - Dec 2009 315,963
Jan - Dec 2010 290,889
Jan - Dec 2011 275,918
Jan - Dec 2012 259,585
Jan - Dec 2013 262,872
Jan - Dec 2014 264,701
Jan - Dec 2015 264,545
Jan - Dec 2016 284,328
Jan - Dec 2017 297,936
Jan - Dec 2018 298,055
Jan - Dec 2019 298,605
Jan - Dec 2020 250,087
Jan - Dec 2021 275,904
Jan - Dec 2022 249,595

Jan - Dec 2022

249,595

Update Sep 2023

In the 3 months to 30 Sep 2023 there were 65,559 estimated claims defended.

Data source

The data source for this measure and more detailed information can be found in the Civil justice statistics (quarterly) publication.

Publication date

Published: 7 December 2023. Next publication: 07 March 2024 9:30am.


Civil courts - 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.

Period Civil courts - claims allocated to track
Jan - Dec 2000 152,641
Jan - Dec 2001 143,486
Jan - Dec 2002 140,721
Jan - Dec 2003 154,705
Jan - Dec 2004 151,527
Jan - Dec 2005 153,328
Jan - Dec 2006 155,149
Jan - Dec 2007 173,751
Jan - Dec 2008 163,905
Jan - Dec 2009 179,983
Jan - Dec 2010 168,693
Jan - Dec 2011 170,615
Jan - Dec 2012 151,120
Jan - Dec 2013 149,637
Jan - Dec 2014 143,529
Jan - Dec 2015 151,234
Jan - Dec 2016 157,055
Jan - Dec 2017 165,052
Jan - Dec 2018 175,745
Jan - Dec 2019 191,572
Jan - Dec 2020 147,128
Jan - Dec 2021 158,420
Jan - Dec 2022 159,277

Jan - Dec 2022

159,277

Update Sep 2023

In the 3 months to 30 Sep 2023 there were 25,058 estimated claims allocated to track.

Data source

The data source for this measure and more detailed information can be found in the Civil justice statistics (quarterly) publication.

Publication date

Published: 7 December 2023. Next publication: 07 March 2024 9:30am.


Civil courts - claims gone to trial

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

Period Civil courts - claims gone to trial
Jan - Dec 2000 71,233
Jan - Dec 2001 71,763
Jan - Dec 2002 68,901
Jan - Dec 2003 65,026
Jan - Dec 2004 62,201
Jan - Dec 2005 63,367
Jan - Dec 2006 62,968
Jan - Dec 2007 69,248
Jan - Dec 2008 63,981
Jan - Dec 2009 64,078
Jan - Dec 2010 60,303
Jan - Dec 2011 52,660
Jan - Dec 2012 46,993
Jan - Dec 2013 43,093
Jan - Dec 2014 45,062
Jan - Dec 2015 48,192
Jan - Dec 2016 51,106
Jan - Dec 2017 56,373
Jan - Dec 2018 58,517
Jan - Dec 2019 64,754
Jan - Dec 2020 45,200
Jan - Dec 2021 53,675
Jan - Dec 2022 53,664

Jan - Dec 2022

53,664

Update Sep 2023

In the 3 months to 30 Sep 2023 there were 13,225 estimated claims gone to trial.

Data source

The data source for this measure and more detailed information can be found in the Civil justice statistics (quarterly) publication.

Publication date

Published: 7 December 2023. Next publication: 07 March 2024 9:30am.


Civil courts - total judgments

Total number of judgments in the county courts. Some civil cases are resolved via mediation or settled out of court and don't proceed to a judgement.

Period Civil courts - total judgments
Jan - Dec 2009 982,464
Jan - Dec 2010 794,311
Jan - Dec 2011 748,586
Jan - Dec 2012 663,457
Jan - Dec 2013 667,168
Jan - Dec 2014 831,541
Jan - Dec 2015 867,665
Jan - Dec 2016 1,055,035
Jan - Dec 2017 1,284,364
Jan - Dec 2018 1,291,142
Jan - Dec 2019 1,323,750
Jan - Dec 2020 727,438
Jan - Dec 2021 980,474
Jan - Dec 2022 901,278

Jan - Dec 2022

901,278

Update Sep 2023

In the 3 months to 30 Sep 2023 there were 261,544 estimated total judgments.

Data source

The data source for this measure and more detailed information can be found in the Civil justice statistics (quarterly) publication.

Publication date

Published: 7 December 2023. Next publication: 07 March 2024 9:30am.