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Home // How long will my case take to get to Court?

Are you considering bringing a court case or do you find yourself having to defend a claim? In our experience, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how long the proceedings will take to reach court. It’s not always easy to be precise – every case is different and so much depends on the approach taken by the different parties to the dispute. But once we understand the nature of the case you are involved in and the legal issues at stake our team should be able to give you a broad indication of the length of time it could take for you to get to court.

We should point out that most cases we get involved in never reach court. Delays in the court system due to Covid19 and other factors discourage many from getting involved in litigation. Instead many parties use alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including arbitration and mediation to settle matters.  At Nath Solicitors in London, we encourage clients to consider ADR, and we are particularly experienced in representing clients in arbitration proceedings, held under the auspices of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).

Below we look at some of the information about court timings provided by the Ministry of Justice and assess how these statistics can shed light on the likely length of time it might take to conclude your litigation.

Court timings – the facts

When we talk about a case getting to court, we’re usually referring to an actual trial of the facts of the case before a judge. Cases will usually go to trial if:

  • A defence has been mounted and the parties do not negotiate a settlement
  • The claimant doesn’t withdraw the case before trial

Figures from the government (the Ministry of Justice) show that between April and June 2022, 12,000 trials took place in English and Welsh courts. This represents an almost 10% drop compared to April to June 2021. Of these cases:

  • 74% were on the small claims track
  • 26% were fast or multi-track (i.e., they involved more complex issues or were more valuable claims)
  • For small claims it took an average of 50.8 weeks between the case being issued and the claim going to trial, slightly longer than the same period in 2021.
  • For multi/fast track claims, it took on average 75.0 weeks to reach a trial, 3.9 weeks longer than in April to June 2021


The figures issued by the Ministry of Justice provide a useful barometer of the length of tome your case may take to reach a conclusion. The trend is definitely towards longer waits to get to trial. By way of comparison the 75 week wait to get to trial in multi/fast track cases indicated above is an increase of 19 weeks from 2017.

There’s little doubt that Covid-19 and other factors have led to this increased delay. It’s true that additional venues have been allocated for court hearings to encourage more effective use of available staff and other resources. But in our opinion, it’s hard to see how the current lengthy wait for trial can be reduced significantly in the short to medium term.

So, what does this mean for our clients? If your case is one that does require a trial, we will certainly use all our expertise to defend or pursue your case as robustly and as effectively as possible. But we will always seek to use ADR and tactical approaches to the other side when appropriate to see if an alternative to court can be found. The courts themselves are increasingly encouraging mediation and ADR methods like Early Neutral Evaluation where the judge will assess the case and give a non-binding view on the likely outcome of any trial.

Contact our Litigation Solicitors

For advice on legal disputes, litigation and ADR please contact Shubha Nath at Nath Solicitors on 44 (0) 203 983 8278 or complete our online contact form.


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