Serious criminal cases taking longer in Northern Ireland
Case processing times in Northern Ireland’s Crown Court have increased, with the average time for a charge case increasing by five per cent to 561 days and the average time for a summons case increasing by 12 per cent to 1,150 days.
The Department of Justice this week published its latest research and statistical bulletin on case processing time for criminal cases across the Northern Ireland courts for 2022/23.
The average time for a case to be dealt with at all courts decreased by nine per cent to 206 days, but remained the second-highest figure recorded in the last five years, partly due to the pandemic backlog.
In the adult magistrates’ court, the average was 103 days for a charge case, down by five per cent on the previous year, and 254 days for a summons case, a decrease of 12 per cent on the previous year.
In the youth magistrates’ court, the average was 142 days for a charge case, down by two per cent, and 278 days for a summons case, down by a significant 26 per cent.
Sexual offence cases took the longest with an average of 757 days to complete — an increase of two per cent on the previous year, as well as the highest median figure recorded in the last five years — compared to motoring offences, which were the fastest at an average of 164 days.