Glossary of statistical terms

Here you will find definitions of terms used in relation to statistics on this website. Terms are included in order of general, criminal and family terms.        

General Terms

Dynamic database
Data for reporting is provided by the Ministry of Justice. It is gathered from a dynamic database which is subject to updates and change. Therefore, any previous report may contain slightly different numbers.

Financial / Fiscal year
A consecutive 12-month time period between 1 July (preceding year) and 30 June (following year).

On hold
A criminal case is “on hold” if there is a warrant to arrest a defendant because he or she failed to appear in court when required. Police have the authority to find and arrest the person and bring them to court. The case cannot be progressed until the person reappears in court.

Execution of warrant to arrest
When the Police arrest someone for whom a warrant has been issued. If the person comes into court voluntarily, the warrant may be withdrawn.

Active cases
Active cases are those waiting for a substantive hearing, sentencing (criminal only) or final judgment (non-criminal) as at a given date. “On hold” cases (criminal only) are not counted as active.

Substantive hearing
The hearing at which the outcome of a matter is expected to be decided. This may be referred to as a defended hearing (family and civil), a trial (criminal and civil processes) or an appeal hearing.

Criminal Jurisdiction (includes Youth Court and Jury Trial matters)

The Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (CPA) came into force on 1 July 2013. It changed the landscape for criminal cases.

Prior to July 2013, charges were laid summarily or indictably, which effectively determined the path and processes they followed in court. Reporting was based on parts of the criminal process, and never on the whole. Current reporting reflects a holistic approach, focused on total criminal cases and on the subsets with special requirements such as jury trials and Youth Court cases.

A case is now counted as new business when it first comes into the system; that is, when charges are filed. It is counted as a disposal only when it has final outcomes for all its charges. Reporting of annual statistics from July 2013 uses new terminology to count transfers between courts and parts of the process: "cases in" alongside "new business" and "cases out" alongside "disposals".

Criminal terms used post June 2013 (CPA)

Case review process
The step between a defendant pleading not guilty and a trial being arranged. Prosecutors and defence counsel meet outside court to discuss the case, and the defence informs the court of the next steps required. A case review hearing often follows if there are issues requiring input from a judge or other judicial officer.

Jury trial process
Describes the process for cases with serious charges (offences carrying a maximum penalty of 2 or more years’ imprisonment, and where the defendant has elected trial by jury if required); from the end of the case review process until the final outcome, whether before, at, or after a jury trial.

New business
New cases entering the court process for the first time or re-entering e.g. after an appeal is granted.

Cases leaving the court process, after a final outcome or from being joined to another case (criminal only), e.g. sentence (criminal only), acquittal, dismissal, withdrawal, agreed settlement (non-criminal), or final judgment (non-criminal). If a case is directed to be reheard, e.g. after an appeal is granted, it may have more than one disposal.

Family Court

Substantive applications
For Family Court, substantive applications are counted instead of cases. Applications grouped under the following case types: Adoption, Alcohol & Drugs, Child Support, Children Young Persons and their Families (CYPF ), Dissolution/Marriage, Domestic Violence, Estates, Family Proceedings, Guardianship (Care of Children), Hague Convention, Mental Health, Protection of Personal and Property Rights (PPPR), Relationship Property and Miscellaneous.

Substantive applications exclude applications made under the Family Court Rules, registrations under the Joint Family Homes Act and section 9 requests for counselling under the Family Proceedings Act.