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Writs And Summonses

Volume 893: debated on Monday 9 June 1975

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asked the Attorney-General how many and what percentage of cases commenced by the issue of a writ or summons failed to reach trial in each of the last three years for which records are available.

About 1¾ million civil proceedings—not including divorce—are started annually in the High Court and county courts. Each year, about 45,000 are tried and nearly 1¾ million disposed of without trial. Records do not show, of the cases tried or otherwise disposed of in a year, what proportion was instituted in that year or in any other given year.

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that some years ago I was promised that statistics would be made available concerning those cases which settle at the door of the court, with the result that a vast amount of time and expense is wasted? Will he ensure that those statistics are made available as soon as possible, so that justice may be done far more swiftly and cheaply than is the situation at present?

I shall bring my hon. Friend's comments to the attention of my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor.