The Ministry of Justice gathers court hearing information for England and Wales, but not Northern Ireland. This information is available from the Northern Ireland Courts Service.
All criminal cases commence in the magistrates' court, the more serious are then committed or sent to the Crown Court for trial or sentence, or as appeals. In 2008, around 143,000 criminal cases were heard in the Crown Court and around 1,915,000 criminal cases were heard in magistrates' courts. Therefore, around 7 per cent of completed criminal cases heard took place in the Crown Court and 93 per cent occurred in magistrates' courts. Comparable statistics for completed criminal cases heard in the magistrates' courts for previous years are not available, as 2008 data were derived from a different data source from previous years.
Annual statistics on the number of criminal cases heard in both the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are published by the Ministry of Justice in the annual command paper Judicial and Court Statistics. The most recent edition, presenting statistics for 2008, was published in September 2009. Copies are available in the Library of the House and from the Ministry of Justice website at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/ judicialandcourtstatistics.htm. Quarterly statistics are also published by the Ministry of Justice in the statistical bulletin Court Statistics Quarterly, which is also available on the Ministry's website.