§ Mrs. Brooke
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the trend in the number of court cases that are adjourned one or more times, and the effect that these adjournments have on other parts of the court service. 
§ Yvette Cooper
I have been asked to reply.1246W
Sample surveys of magistrates court cases show that the proportion of defendants whose cases were adjourned in these courts fell from 50 per cent. in 1997 to 44 per cent. in 2001. In the magistrates courts a joint monitoring scheme with the Crown Prosecution Service and other criminal justice agencies began on 1 April 2002, to collect data for all adjourned trials, including the number of previous adjournments. The first quarterly figures will be published in July 2002. The Crown court also has a national monitoring scheme for adjourned trials. Data from both sources will inform a research project, planned to start later this year, into the effect of trial adjournments.