The Changing Face of Civil Judicial Statistics Scotland Jules Goodlet-Rowley 5th March 2012
Contents • Structure of the civil courts • Civil Judicial Statistics Review • History of the civil publications • ScotStat Civil group • Data Mapping • New publication in Nov 2012
Court of Session based in Edinburgh • 49 sheriff courts across Scotland, grouped into six sheriffdoms
Background • Publication suspended after Civil Judicial Statistics Scotland 2002 • lack of precision in the definition of data items • inconsistency across the 49 sheriff courts • data unreliable and potentially misleading • Top level initiation figures fine and can be used to produce a long scale trend • Disposal data not reliable • Splits between procedural levels not reliable
Where does the data come from? • Data taken from the live court recording system run by the Scottish Court Service (SCS) • Highly complex and highly varied set of data • large variety of case types and procedural outcomes that can be pursued • Extract run on a monthly basis and sent to SG for analysis • 49 sheriff courts = 49 different recording system = 49 potential ways of doing things
Limitations of data • Main purpose of CMS is to keep track of court cases – data for statistics is secondary to this • Data from Court of Session and 49 sheriff courts – differences in local practices can lead to some inconsistencies in data • Classifying cases into specific types isn't always straightforward - some overlap between case types • Not able to provide statistics on ancillary craves
Civil Judicial Statistics Review • Scottish Court Service and SG worked together to address data quality issues • Civil Judicial Statistics Review project • Long running • Improved data quality • Consistent data recording between courts • Improved guidance • Improvements to their case management system (CMS) • Improvements to the civil courts recording system • Data from project available from April 2011.
Civil Judicial Statistics Scotland • Publication reinstated in December 2010 • 2008/09 and 2009/10 published together • Interim data • 2nd publication released October 2011 • Based on the 2009-10 publication but… • Major changes to the format • Included information from other sources
What was different from last publication? • Thematic layout and improved sign posting • Increased use of contextual information: • Results from Scottish Crime and Justice Survey included • Scottish Legal Aid • Mid-year population estimates • Court structure diagram • Extra tables: • Supplementary time series tables (2008-09 to 2010-11) published alongside publication • Interactive dataset published • Introduction of thematic tables e.g. debt
Interactive dataset • Overall number of cases Initiated/Disposed • by sheriff court and sheriffdom • By procedure and sheriffdom • Debt, Damages, Repossessions, Personal Injury • by procedure and sheriffdom • PI includes Court of Session data • Family • by case type and sheriffdom
Presentation issues addressed • Accessibility requirements • Colour scheme chosen to maximise accessibility • Text now left-aligned rather than justified • Publication made available as a Word file • Improved presentation • Shading added to tables • Charts and diagrams added
New analysis –Differences across sheriffdoms • Fewer cases were initiated and disposed in each sheriffdom in 2010-11 • Largest fall in Lothian and Borders (24% fewer cases initiated, 24% fewer cases disposed) • Smallest change in cases initiated seen in Grampian, Highlands and Islands (down 12%) • Smallest change in cases disposed seen in North Strathclyde (down 9%) • Glasgow and Strathkelvin has dealt with the most cases per 1,000 population, with around 30% more than any other sheriffdom
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey • Respondents were asked about their experiences of problems in different areas of their life in the three years prior to interview. • grouped into four different areas: • Home, family or living arrangements; • Money, finance or anything paid for; • Unfair treatment; • Health and well-being.
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey – 2010/11 • Almost three in ten (27%) adults had experienced at least one of the civil law problems asked about in the last three years. • 16% of adults had experienced problems with home, family or living arrangements; • 12% had experienced problems with money, finance or things they had paid for; • 6% had been treated unfairly in some respect; • 6% had experienced health or well-being problems.
ScotStat Civil Group • The objective of the Civil Justice group is: • Through liaison between users and providers of statistics on civil justice: • to identify the key strategic statistical information required by users; • and to develop and implement a strategy for prioritising and meeting these needs. • First meeting was 8th December 2011 and minutes/papers online
Data Mapping SCJS What happens in between? Courts data
Data Mapping Advice SCJS Solve it On going Do nothing Courts Solve it themselves
Publication plans – 2012 onwards • Merge Civil Judicial Statistics Scotland with Divorce and Dissolutions • Thematic tables as well as commentary • Expanded narrative • More information from other sources • Citizens Advice Scotland • Scottish Legal Aid Board • Scottish Crime and Justice Survey • International comparisons • Information from other agencies/courts • Scottish Land court • Tribunals
Discussion in tables • What data/information do you collect and why? • Is there any way to share data/information between organisations? • What data/information needs do you or your organisation have? • If you had a wish list what would be on it and what would be your highest priority? • Data gaps in the civil publications? • Comments on civil publications