Criminal courts

Virtually all criminal court cases in England and Wales start in a magistrates' court. The less serious offences (summary and some triable either-way) are handled entirely in magistrates' courts.

More serious offences (triable either-way or indictable only) are passed via the magistrates' court on to the Crown Court, either for sentencing after the defendant has been found guilty or for a trial with a judge and jury. The Crown Court also receives appeals against decisions of the magistrates' courts.

The magistrates' court is the first tier of criminal courts in England and Wales and is presided over by three ‘Justices of the Peace’ (known as lay magistrates) or by a district judge.

The Crown Court is a single entity that sits at various court centres across England and Wales, it predominately deals with serious criminal cases. Unlike the magistrates' court, trials in the Crown Court have a jury to determine the guilt of defendants and a judge which can impose tougher sentences.

See criminal court statistics at MOJ for further information.


Magistrates' courts receipts

A count of the number of cases where the case has been entered on the court administrative system (following a validation process) within the reporting period.

Show as: chart | table

Period Magistrates' courts receipts
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 1,169,522
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 1,537,272
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 1,607,163
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 1,591,592
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 1,529,018
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 1,515,548
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 1,451,020
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 1,443,215
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 1,125,434
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 1,145,937

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 1,145,937

Data source Criminal court statistics


Magistrates' courts disposals

A count of the number of cases only when all the offences have been completed (following a validation process) in the reporting period. Disposals figures in this report may change if the case results are entered after the first collation of the data.

Show as: chart | table

Period Magistrates' courts disposals
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 1,179,639
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 1,556,261
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 1,570,660
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 1,594,051
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 1,566,357
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 1,509,022
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 1,456,735
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 1,441,903
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 1,040,902
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 1,169,301

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 1,169,301

Data source Criminal court statistics


Magistrates' courts outstanding

A count of all cases where one or more offence remains incomplete. The data is a snapshot based on outstanding cases on the final day of the reporting period. This is a count of live cases on the system and is not a calculation based on receipts and disposals.

Show as: chart | table

Period Magistrates' courts outstanding
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 307,803
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 288,946
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 326,437
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 327,228
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 291,025
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 297,593
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 289,664
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 299,831
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 383,064
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 359,261

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 359,261

Data source Criminal court statistics


Magistrates' courts total number of trials

A trial in the magistrates' court or Crown Court is a hearing at which the prosecution produces evidence to prove the case against the defendant.

Trials in the magistrates' court are heard by two or three magistrates or by one district judge.

Show as: chart | table

Period Magistrates' courts total number of trials
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 177,485
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 193,608
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 182,500
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 180,950
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 189,830
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 183,511
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 179,858
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 179,794
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 166,808
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 156,671
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 155,087
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 158,984
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 162,668
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 149,423
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 136,962
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 123,023
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 109,396
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 57,388
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 92,818

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 92,818

Data source Criminal court statistics


Magistrates' courts effective trials

Effective trials as a percentage of total trials.

Show as: chart | table

Period Magistrates' courts effective trials
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 33 %
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 37 %
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 41 %
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 44 %
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 43 %
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 43 %
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 43 %
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 43 %
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 43 %
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 44 %
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 45 %
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 45 %
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 48 %
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 47 %
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 47 %
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 46 %
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 46 %
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 44 %
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 42 %

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 42 %

Data source Criminal court statistics


Magistrates' courts cracked trials

Cracked trials as a percentage of total trials.

Show as: chart | table

Period Magistrates' courts cracked trials
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 38 %
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 37 %
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 37 %
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 37 %
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 38 %
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 38 %
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 38 %
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 39 %
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 39 %
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 39 %
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 38 %
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 37 %
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 37 %
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 38 %
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 38 %
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 39 %
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 39 %
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 36 %
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 36 %

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 36 %

Data source Criminal court statistics


Magistrates' courts ineffective trials

Ineffective trials as a percentage of total trials.

Show as: chart | table

Period Magistrates' courts ineffective trials
Jan 2003 to Dec 2003 29 %
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004 26 %
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005 22 %
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 19 %
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 19 %
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 18 %
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 19 %
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 18 %
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 18 %
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 17 %
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 18 %
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 18 %
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 15 %
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 15 %
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 15 %
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 16 %
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 15 %
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 20 %
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 22 %

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 22 %

Data source Criminal court statistics


Crown court receipts

A count of the number of cases where the case has been entered on the court administrative system (following a validation process) within the reporting period.

Show as: chart | table

Period Crown court receipts
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 135,552
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 126,733
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 114,805
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 111,798
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 99,994
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 104,563
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 96,957
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 97,993

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 97,993

Data source Criminal court statistics


Crown court disposals

A count of the number of cases only when all the offences have been completed (following a validation process) in the reporting period. Disposals figures in this report may change if the case results are entered after the first collation of the data.

Show as: chart | table

Period Crown court disposals
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 129,017
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 130,760
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 123,230
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 115,711
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 105,765
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 99,610
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 78,162
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 95,507

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 95,507

Data source Criminal court statistics


Crown court outstanding

A count of all cases where one or more offence remains incomplete. The data is a snapshot based on outstanding cases on the final day of the reporting period. This is a count of live cases on the system and is not a calculation based on receipts and disposals. Transferred cases may be double counted for a period while they show in both sending and receiving courts; offences subsequently entered in error may change the categorisation of the case.

Show as: chart | table

Period Crown court outstanding
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 56,148
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 51,907
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 43,291
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 39,157
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 33,255
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 38,271
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 57,093
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 58,818

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 58,818

Data source Criminal court statistics


Crown court total number of trials

A trial in the magistrates' court or Crown Court is a hearing at which the prosecution produces evidence to prove the case against the defendant.

Trials in the Crown Court are typically heard before a judge and jury.

Show as: chart | table

Period Crown court total number of trials
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 35,971
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 39,035
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 37,339
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 34,579
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 29,583
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 24,276
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 10,621
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 21,805

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 21,805

Data source Criminal court statistics


Crown courts effective trials

Effective trials as a percentage of total trials.

Show as: chart | table

Period Crown courts effective trials
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 50 %
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 50 %
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 51 %
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 51 %
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 51 %
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 50 %
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 51 %
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 48 %

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 48 %

Data source Criminal court statistics


Crown courts cracked trials

Cracked trials as a percentage of total trials.

Show as: chart | table

Period Crown courts cracked trials
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 35 %
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 35 %
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 34 %
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 34 %
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 35 %
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 34 %
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 28 %
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 29 %

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 29 %

Data source Criminal court statistics


Crown courts ineffective trials

Ineffective trials as a percentage of total trials.

Show as: chart | table

Period Crown courts ineffective trials
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 15 %
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 15 %
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 15 %
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 15 %
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 14 %
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 16 %
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 21 %
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 23 %

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 23 %

Data source Criminal court statistics