What to do

If you have recently experienced a delay in a criminal court please take a moment to leave a short reply below which explains:

(1) How long the delay was;

(2) When and in which court it happened;

(3) What caused the delay;

(4) The case name, if disclosable (please respect any reporting restrictions which may be in place).

It’s up to you what information you post about yourself of course, but be aware that anonymous replies will carry less weight than replies from identifiable and credible sources.

If you would prefer not to have your reply (or part of your reply) posted here but you still want to inform us of a delay (or matters relating to a delay) which you have experienced, please send us an email at courtdelays@5kbw.co.uk and we will treat it in confidence.

Please do try to ensure the accuracy of any information provided as the purpose of this exercise will be frustrated if the Ministry of Justice is presented with unreliable data.

Many thanks,

The South Eastern Circuit


  1. olwen davies · · Reply

    CPS v Watts Leics MC 8 Oct. Common assault x 3 , domestic setting, Def on an SSO for same offences on same complainant.

    Def required to attend Crown Ct for Mention. Listing advised he was bailed to the Mags for trial at the same time and couldn’t attend both courts simultaneously. Still listed Mention and required him to attend.

    Mags trial had to be adjourned as he went to the Crown Ct.

  2. Bob Sastry · · Reply

    PCMH for attempted murder at Manchester Crown Square on 20.9.13. Trial is fixed for 14.10, so s tight timescale. Czech interpreter did not turn up so the PCMH was adjourned to 27.9.13. On that date the interpreter failed to attend again. The defendant hardly speaks English and has been in custody for months. The system is not working and has not since capita were involved. Thousands of pounds of taxpayers money being wasted. It is a disgrace.

  3. mylearnedfiend · · Reply

    Observed at Blackfriars CC this morning (27.9.13) – Def due to be produced for a sentence which was complex and plainly going to take a couple of hours of court time to complete. Case listed for 10am list, both counsel in attendance, Def found not only not to have been produced in cells but was (unknown to anyone) being produced from HMP Wayland. ETA 1pm.

    Due to neither counsel being available at 2pm, it appeared, case had to be stood out to Monday – yet another wasted hearing due to admin cockup completely outside the control of counsel!

  4. mylearnedfiend · · Reply

    23.9.13 at Inner London Crown Court. Despite Serco only having 4 courts to deal with rather than the usual 10, 6 counsel had to queue to get into the cells from 9.30am, when the cells are supposed to open, until 10.10am when they actually opened. By which time, presumably, 6 different sets of cases had been delayed. Worse still, it was then another 10 mins before anyone’s client was actually brought to the interview rooms.

    The explanation? Apparently only 2 staff in the cells to deal with 21 custodies…

  5. Kathryn Hirst · · Reply

    Croydon Crown Court. Ongoing case, so currently not named.
    Allegation of sexual abuse and rape of autistic young man. Case fixed at PCMH with 6-7 day t/e for 16/09.
    PTR two weeks earlier at which both trial counsel attended. V’s needs were set out which included that he must finish his evidence in one day. The plan was for jury sworn, ground rules, legal argument, opening on Monday, V on Tuesday. Prosecution counsel indicated he was obliged to be in the Ct of App on the Wednesday for possibly the whole or half a day. On arriving at court on the day of the trial we discovered that our assigned judge could not sit on the Tuesday for the whole day and for most of the Thursday. We also discovered that none of our proposals regarding the witness had been logged at court and therefore the list office had not factored those things in. We adjourned until Friday with a plan that V gave his evidence the following Monday. On Monday 23rd we attended to find that a juror was now ill. A new jury then had to be empanelled. However, the biggest problem was that the court was unable to make a link to the video room. Several were tried at court. By the time we were able to achieve a link which was capable of playing the ABE video (albeit a very jerky image) the complainant was very stressed and had asked to go home. On attending court today, the DVD player in our original court had broken down. We had to move court and we had to re establish a link to the link room. Over an hour was lost today.
    Total delay so far 6 working days. Both counsel have had to return cases for the following week in order to remain in the case. Obviously I was unable to take on any work after the failed bid to start the case last Monday because we were resitting on the Friday.

  6. Alisdair Smith · · Reply

    D pleaded G at Woolwich on 2/8/13 – prison pyschiatric report ordered – listed again 30/8 – court says no report – adj. to 6/9 – 6/9 ct says no report – adj again to today (20/9) with promise that report will be ready then – today court says no report and just trying to find a new date when court find report – dated 28/8.

  7. Rob Simpson · · Reply

    2 weeks
    Winchester Crown Court
    No prosecution papers served for a PCMH. Ordered to be served by the 4th September at the preliminary hearing. 3 calls to the CPS to try and get the papers in time for a prison visit booked for the 12th. The response every time was ‘it is in the list’.
    At court the prosecution applied for an adjournment due to unspecified technical difficulties. PCMH adjourned for 2 weeks for service of the papers. Client further remanded in custody. There were similar applications, cases taken out of the list and semi effective PCMHs in nearly every case before the court today.
    R v Khalif.

  8. Snaresbrook Crown Court 12th September 2013

    Case listed for appeal against conviction in a road traffic matter for a 10:30 start in the main building with an estimated length of hearing of ½ day. Prosecutor also listed for a 10:15 sentence in the annexe. His 10:15 case doesn’t start till after 10:30 and so prosecutor doesn’t arrive till after 11:00. There are also 5 other appeals to be heard that same day and 2 mentions. Our case gets called on around 11:40. Unfortunately, there is another appeal against conviction involving a domestic violence matter to be heard and so court takes the not unreasonable view that such case must take priority. My case therefore gets adjourned off until October.

    Before it did get adjourned off, myself, the appellant, his witness and 3 trojan (armed response police officers) were waiting around at court for approximately 2 hrs.

  9. Birmingham Magistrates 11/9/13
    2nd Bail app for a lady who was RIC to Foston hall. We couldn’t book the video link in Court at the first hearing as Foston only take bookings up till Noon. I ascertained the day before that the case was in Court 13 at 10.15. I duly arrive and Court 13 is shut. Go to the general office who confirm it’s in Court 13. Go back. Go to Court 17 which is the normal video link court. On way see head Usher who tells me the Usher for 14 is covering 13. Go to 14 see Usher who says know’s nothing about the case 13 is definitely shut no mags etc. It’s now nearly 10.15 so i go back down to general office which is understaffed and a large queue has formed. I ring listing and eventually get through. Am put on hold. Eventually, told that the case is to be in 14. I go to 14 where the legal adviser is receiving a call telling her about the case. The Court file follows me in. The CPS borrow my AI ! By this time the necessary interpreter hasn’t arrived either ! Listing say they’ll ring ALS who of course have a 3 hour time allowance. Foston Hall video link is open with a chair on view. There are a few calls put through to them to ask them to bring the defendant in. A hand comes through the door and reaches for the light switch and the light goes out !! You couldn’t make this up. We eventually get through and the defendant is brought in and somewhat bemused put over till the next day. This was the day Failing was at the Birmingham Magistrates as well shouting about digital working. So a delay of 24 hours as the case went over to the next day.

  10. Rob Simpson · · Reply

    Winchester crown court
    R v Bagocuis & Gribenas
    Listed for a video link preliminary hearing and bail application.
    The court had failed to book an interpreter.
    Delayed until 17/9 and further remanded in custody.

  11. Paul Legg · · Reply

    Youth, arrested in the early hours of this morning for breaching bail conditions. The police do not take him to Hammersmith Youth Court until about 2.20 p.m. meaning that there is a significant delay in putting a youth in custody before the court.

  12. mylearnedfiend · · Reply

    Second time up in Preston CC to attempt to get an appeal against revocation of firearms licence off the ground yesterday.

    Client paying privately as no legal aid for this sort of thing. Original hearing (2 days, as extensive evidence to be called by both sides) listed at end of June 2013 had to be abandoned when we were only called on by lunchtime on the first day of the listing due to the court having listed other matters which took all morning. Judge and 2 mags decided that, as we could not guarantee finishing the case by close of play on day 2, having lost half of day 1, we should not attempt to start.

    List office knew full well that 2 days was an entirely realistic estimate as original listing had been for 1 day in April and this had been vacated at the parties’ request due to the inadequate time estimate!

    At aborted hearing of June 2013, both counsel made it clear to court that 2 full days were required to complete the case. Supposed to be listed at Lancaster CC on 4 and 5 Sept. On afternoon of 3 Sept, frantic phone calls received from list office saying Lancaster CC couldn’t now accommodate due to an overrunning trial, so case being moved to Preston CC. Counsel had a feeling of foreboding…

    List office assured solicitors on both sides that the part heard trial in the court at Preston CC in which we had now been placed was “almost finished” and that we ought to get on around 11am.

    On arrival at Preston CC on 4 Sept, discovered that the part heard trial was only about 2/3 of the way thru the Crown’s case, with Def alibi witness to also be called!

    Sat around at court all day, finally called into HHJ’s rooms at 15:45 to be told that we could not get on that day, and that HHJ had other reserved matters to deal with on both 5 and 6 Sept. Therefore, it was clear HHJ could not start this hearing. No other court/HHJ at Preston CC able to accommodate. Hearing stood out for second time, now listed for December.

    Substantial time wasted for 2 counsel (both privately paid), a senior police inspector, a DC, a witness for my client, and my client himself who is self-employed. Total disgrace – told Preston CC has had a sharp increase in cases at a time when ‘court hours’ have been decreased, and this was the result.

  13. Swindon Magistrates Court –
    2 September 2013.

    Client turns up for sentence at 11am. The court has double figures in the cells as it is a combined county remand. Case put off to afternoon and then adjourned to another day.
    6 plus hours wasted.
    R -v- Dwyer.

  14. Jeffrey Israel · · Reply

    ILCC – 2 interpreters needed (one for each side), neither attended, trial adjourned from Sep till Jan – vulnerable witnesses and defendant in custody

  15. Adam Butler · · Reply

    A youth case (hence no name) at Kingston Crown Court delayed for 24 hours as def not produced, and could not be brought this afternoon (3/9/13).

  16. Stephen Spence · · Reply

    (1). Delay – bloody months.
    (2) Ipswich CC
    This was a re-trial, the original trial having been stopped because of a problem with an interpreter. It was always listed 5-6 days (3 defendants charged with section 18). Listed for Wednesday morning start. CPS had been unable to locate a witness who had not been warned. Pros wanted to consider whether to apply for a witness summons. Further, when the original trial was abandoned the Recorder had suggested that certain investigations be undertaken. Pros counsel needed to find out what, if anything had been done (answer – nothing). Most of the morning was spent undertaking enquiries as to where witness might be (answer-don’t know) and whether the other enquiries had been undertaken – see above. Court then informed us that we would not be sitting for half a day on Friday. Judge already had 5 matters listed for final review on Wed afternoon and could not rule out other cases during the course of the trial. Court further informed us that Judge had a sensitive fixed sex case for next Wednesday and needed to be available for that. Enquiries revealed no other judge available for our case. Could we finish a 5-6 day case with interpreters, 3 defendants….etc within four available working days? When we couldn’t guarantee it we were then stood out until December. Court clerk then queried the reason for us being stood out as ‘want of court time’.

  17. Lee Mott · · Reply

    2.5 hour delay today (28.8.13) at Chippenham Magistrates Court. Attending to deal with a trial which had cracked in consultation with prosecution the day before.

    Court trial overlisting meant we were behind an overunning morning trial.
    R v Innes.

  18. Marie De Viell · · Reply

    1. 2 wasted days on 1st case and 1 wasted day on 2nd case;
    2. February & March 2013 in Highbury Corner MC on 1st case and May 2013 in Aylesbury MC on 2nd case;
    3. Ineffective and overloaded court listing despite writing to the court with realistic time estimates and sentencing bundles for the court lead to insufficient time in court to deal with our cases;
    4. Ist case was Environment Agency vs J O’Doherty Haulage Ltd and 2nd case was Environment Agency vs Sytner Limited
    These are just 2 examples of delays in dealing with environmental sentencing cases which invariably take between 1 & 3 hours.

  19. Barry Smith · · Reply

    (1) 2 hours

    (2) Westminster Mags 22 August 2013

    (3) No court file, no MG5 and no charge sheets

    (4) Nine handed first appearance on fraud and money laundering charges

  20. Jeffrey Lamb · · Reply

    Kingston Crown Court for a 2-day Robbery trial with an Afghan Defendant. No Pashtun Interpreter arrived for the first day and the victim was told he only needed to attend on the second day. A whole day wasted! On day 2, the Interpreter arrived at 10:45!

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