NI Courts and Tribunal Service Judicial Statistics for 2021, published today

Date published: 24 June 2022

Figures published today by the NI Courts and Tribunals Service in the 2021 edition of ‘Judicial Statistics’ outline court business received and dealt with during the calendar year 2021.


This report provides an overview of Children Order and County, Court of Appeal, Crown, High and Magistrates’ Courts business during 2021 and how it compares with the comparative figures for the previous year. The key findings are summarised below -

Children Order

  • During the year there were 2,199 sittings (6,417 total hours sat), 4,851 Children Order Applications received and 4,928 disposed.
  • At 68% the most common reason for transferring children order applications was complexity, the most common reason each year across the five year time series.
  • In terms of orders made, 1,542 were own motion, 9,518 were interim and 6,678 were final.
  • The average waiting time for applications disposed was 57.2 weeks for public and 36.0 weeks for private law.
  • Average processing times in weeks for both public and private law applications have increased over the last five years.

County Court

  • County Court and District Judges sat a total of 4,534 sitting days during the year. Within those days 2,090 (46%) were majority Crown Court days,  1,673 (37%) were majority County Court Judge civil days, and 771 (17%) were majority District Judge civil days.
  • In terms of receipts there were 9,120 Civil bills, 160 equity, 342 ejectment and 5,450 small claims cases received.
  • In terms of disposals there were 8,573 Civil bills, 103 equity, 284 ejectment and 5,209 small claims cases disposed.
  • 1,425 divorce decrees were granted and 1,399 decrees absolute issued.
  • There was a general increase in the number of cases received and disposed and a general increase in time taken to disposal compared with figures for the previous year.

Court of Appeal

  • Judges sat a total of 68 days on criminal Court of Appeal business and 104 days on civil Court of Appeal business.
  • There were 99 criminal appeals received and 76 disposed, and 79 civil appeals received and 61 disposed.

Crown Court

  • During the year there were 2,366 Crown Court sittings with 1,711 cases and 2,148 defendants received and 1,358 cases and 1,650 defendants disposed.
  • Average time from committal to hearing was 143 days and from conviction to disposal was 60 days.
  • In comparison to the previous year the number of cases and defendants received increased as did the numbers disposed.

High Court

  • There were 2,074 High Court sitting days during the year. The highest proportion of these days was spent on Queen’s Bench business (18%).
  • The Chancery Division received 1,105 and disposed of 912 cases. Of the 1,105 cases received 68% were Chancery, 20% bankruptcy and 11% companies.
  • In terms of Queen’s Bench business, 3,710 writs and originating summons were received and 1,677 were disposed; 1780 applications were received and 1,377 applications were disposed.
  • There were 344 applications for leave to apply for Judicial Review, 121 applications for Judicial Review and 5 ancillary applications received.
  • There were 71 adoption cases and applications received and 50 disposed. The average time taken from issue to disposal was 44 weeks.
  • There were 2,525 divorce petitions received (1,083 (43%) for 2 years separation with consent), 713 decrees granted and 665 decrees absolute issued.

Magistrates’ Court

  • Within the 4,412 Magistrates’ sitting days during the year, 73% were adult criminal, 6% youth criminal and 22% civil and family days.
  • There were 313 new civil applications, 4,295 new family applications and 37,064 new adult and 980 new youth defendants received.
  • In terms of disposals there were 258 civil and 4,059 family applications and 37,064 adult and 1,079 youth defendants disposed.
  • The average waiting times from summons/charge to disposal in the adult and youth criminal courts were 11 and 18 weeks respectively; from date of receipt to disposal the average waiting time was 33 weeks for civil applications and 10 weeks for family applications.
  • All parameters received and disposed were higher than the comparative figures for the previous year.


Notes to editors: 

1.  Further information is available at the publication section of this website.

2.  For queries relating to this report contact Analytical Services Group, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SG. Email

3.  Press queries should be directed to press office via Email 

4.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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