The judiciary has responded to a deluge of extra appeal applications by putting back the deadlines for hearing them.
Master of the rolls Lord Dyson yesterday published new guidance on hear-by dates to replace existing directions dating back to 2003.
Since then, the number of permission applications filed in the Court of Appeal has increased by 67%, with the number of appeals heard rising by 3%.
Over the same period, Lord Dyson said, the number of Lord and Lady Justices of Appeal has increase by just one, from 37 to 38, in 2008.
Pressure on the civil appeal court has been mounting for some time, with the number of adjourned trials in the Court of Appeal rising 75% in 2014/15. Last year alone almost 300 trials were vacated due to a lack of judicial resources.
Because of the increasing volume of work of the court, the hear-by dates set in 2003 are ‘no longer realistic’, Lord Dyson said.
He added: ‘In order to provide litigants and practitioners with a reliable timescale within which different classes of appeal are likely to be heard, revised hear-by dates have been set.’
The new dates will apply for all cases filed after 31 July.
They range from two to five months for child cases and planning appeals, depending on where permission was granted. Possession, bankruptcy and immigration appeals can be heard in up to 12 months.
Dyson said cases have been ranked in order of priority, and the court will continue to make sure that urgent matters are expedited and all business conducted as swiftly as possible.
Previous guidelines were set out by former master of the rolls Sir Thomas Bingham who put the upper limit at nine months.