Court hearing delays reported, and how Affiniti can assist

With no end in sight for the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic Affinti’s Catrin Macleod has taken a look at how this is affecting the administration of justice across the Court system, and how it has been reported in recent months.

On 3rd December 2020, the latest Civil Justice quarterly statistics where published, for the period July – September 2020[1].  Unsurprisingly the results highlighted further delays in matters getting before the Courts for final hearings.

Litigation Futures[2] reported on the findings, confirming that small claims timelines in particular were impacted by the pandemic, with the time between issue and trial having increased by 10.7 weeks to the same period in 2019.  This was attributed in part to the shorter timeframe for small claims between issue and listing.  Delayed fast and multi-track cases have not, in the main, reached hearings as yet, and may show in the next quarter statistics.  Even so it was reported that both fast and multi track cases were taking an average of 62 weeks between being issued and reaching trial, an increase of 2.6 weeks on the same period in 2019.

The Law Gazette wrote in November[3] of the long road of recovery for Courts across all sectors of the justice system and spoke of optimism by the Court service, with disposal numbers up, and longer hours across the Nightingale Courts.  However, pressure remains on many sectors, with an estimated 45,000 employment tribunal claims waiting to be listed.  With an anticipated surge in employment tribunal claims in coming months, these delays are not anticipated to improve any time soon.  The probate service has also been plagued by issues, with expected increases in possession cases, all of which will impact backlogs.

In early November Legal Futures guest contributor Qamar Anwar of First4Lawyers[4] looked at how the Civil Liability Act (CLA) introduction in April 2021 may exacerbate the backlogs.  He described “the introduction of the Act is the final factor in a perfect storm”, considering pre-pandemic funding problems, pandemic related backlogs and the longer court sitting day due to end in April 2021, coinciding with the Act’s introduction.  The expectation is that there will be an increase in small claims as a result of the CLA, all adding to the delays in getting matters heard.

The above puts strain on finances for many law firms with significant delays in realising the WIP tied up in cases that cannot settle pre-hearing, and the ability to fund new cases and work streams.

At Affiniti we work with the law firms on our panel to find solutions to financing claims, whether that’s straightforward disbursement funding on a case-by-case basis, a law firm lend, or a bespoke package.

If you wish to discuss how Affiniti can help, please contact us at enquiries@affinitifinance.co.uk.

 

[1] Civil Justice statistics quarterly: July to September 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)).

[2] Small claims worst hit so far by Covid as trial delays lengthen – Litigation Futures

[3] News focus: Courts recovery plan – progress report | News | Law Gazette

[4] How the Civil Liability Act could make the courts backlog crisis a disaster – Legal Futures

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