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Editorial: Court Reviews - Aidan Ellis, Temple Garden Chambers

22/10/15. Whilst trying to find the temporary location of Edmonton County Court this month, I came across the Google reviews of this Court. Fourteen people had posted reviews, giving the Court an average rating of 1.3 out of 5. Given that the lowest possible rating is 1 out of 5 (which was the score awarded by most reviewers, with the average being artificially raised by one outlying 3 star review), this suggests a high level of dissatisfaction amongst the reviewers.

Intrigued, I explored the equivalent reviews for other County Courts. Here are the average scores on google reviews for some familiar London courts:-

  • Bow County Court - 1.1 (from 24 reviews)
  • Romford County Court - 1.1 (from 9 reviews)
  • Central London County Court - 1.1 (from 15 reviews)
  • Willesden County Court - 1.1 (from 20 reviews)
  • Barnet County Court - 1.1 (from 9 reviews)

These results are hardly definitive – between 9 and 24 reviews cannot be said to be statistically significant. Moreover it tends to be extremely poor or extremely positive experiences that motivate people to write a review, if indeed they realise that they can write a google review of a Court.

Nevertheless, the comments explaining negative reviews share a common theme. Surprisingly, none appear to be disappointed litigants complaining about the outcome of their case. Instead, the poor reviews seem to be motivated by failure to answer the telephones, delay in responding to correspondence and losing documents. These are genuine concerns impacting many court users. It is difficult not to link these administrative difficulties with cuts to court administration. Perhaps the point that the reviews make is that problems in court administration are important because they can undermine public confidence in the court system as a whole.

Aidan Ellis
Temple Garden Chambers

Image ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59

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