The number of Supreme Court judgments delivered in 2022-23 was a third lower than the previous year, the court’s annual report has revealed. A total of 38 rulings is the lowest number since 2018-2019. In 2021-22 the court delivered 56.
Meanwhile the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council almost doubled its delivered judgments during the same time period, to 60 compared with 34 the year before.
Seven UKSC and four JCPC judgments were not unanimous.
In 2022-23, the UK’s highest court decided 273 permission to appeal applications (PTA) with 70 applications granted permission. Of the PTAs filed with the Supreme Court, 24 were considered public law and human rights cases. They outnumbered all other topics, including commercial (17) and family (15).
Financial statements reveal the the UKSC and JCPC’s total expenditure in 2022-23 was £13,116,000, £722,000 less than the previous year. This included £7,408,000 in staff costs. Operating income, which includes court fees and contributions from UK court services, totalled £8,087,000.
In his foreword to the report, Supreme Court, president Lord Reed said the court had improved the efficiency of the processing of PTAs. ‘We have dealt efficiently with cases of particular public interest. For example, we prioritised the Scottish referendum reference because of the constitutional importance of the case, delivering a judgment within six weeks of the hearing. It was thanks to a dedicated and capable workforce, as well as the skill and diligence of the judges, that this was accomplished.’
Research published by Thomson Reuters last month showed that the UKSC has come to deal almost exclusively with civil cases. The number of cases filed increased 23% last year to 226, with civil cases accounting for 98%, up from 76% (168 out of 220) in 2013-14. Just 2% of cases filed were criminal cases last year, versus 24% 10 years ago.