UK Supreme Court's 2020-21 Annual Report and Accounts published
24 June 2021
Today, the 2020-21 Annual Report and Accounts of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) was laid in Parliament, covering the Court's eleventh full financial year and setting out its key achievements and progress towards its strategic objectives.
Lord Reed, the President of the Supreme Court, begins his foreword by noting that, both the UKSC and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) have operated entirely virtually throughout the reporting year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He pays tribute to the hard work of his fellow justices and the staff of the court, in particular the IT team, which allowed the Court to continue to deliver a high level of service during this time, delivering 54 UKSC judgments and 31 JCPC judgments during the reporting year.
Lord Reed also observes that the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, on 31 December 2020, has changed the relationship between the UKSC and the Court of Justice of the European Union, explaining that these changes are outlined in more detail in the full report. As part of the UKSC's contribution to the new international role for the country and as the flagship for the UK's commitment to the rule of law, the UKSC has continued to build strong relationships with courts around the world, taking part in virtual meetings and exchanges with both Ireland and Japan during the year.
Lord Reed charts the changes to the bench, paying tribute to the three justices who retired during this time: Lord Wilson of Culworth, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore and Lady Black of Derwent. He welcomes the three new justices: Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows and Lord Stephens of Creevyloughgare. It was with great sadness that the Court learnt of the news of Lord Kerr's death on 1 December 2020.
Looking ahead, as we emerge from the pandemic, it is important that we learn lessons, to continue to improve and to take what we can from the innovations that have been made during this time. Lord Reed's priorities continue to be maintaining the standing of the Court as one of the world's leading courts, maintaining the Court's independence, improving the diversity on the Court, strengthening the relationship between the Court and the Courts of Appeal in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, developing an international strategy, and strengthening the relationship between the Court and Parliament.
Writing her first introduction as Chief Executive, Vicky Fox notes that the year has been dominated by uncertainties and challenges brought about by the pandemic, with staff and justices working from home where possible and the UKSC and JCPC building closed to the public for much of year. However, a significant shift in ways of working and the dedication of staff and Justices has meant that the Court has successfully adapted not only to virtual hearings but has found new ways to continue to offer its education and outreach work.
Vicky ends by sharing the Court's vision to emerge stronger than before from the pandemic, in order that the Court can contribute to the UK's recovery and deliver its strategic priorities of recovery and resilience, diversity, aspiring to be world class and serving the public.
Supreme Court judgments and Permission to Appeal applications
The Report sets out how the Supreme Court heard 61 appeals and delivered 54 judgments between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. The justices also determined 175 permission to appeal applications.
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC), which is co-located with the Supreme Court and shares the Court's administration, heard 41 appeals during 2020-2021. The JCPC gave 31 judgments and determined 41 permission to appeal applications.
In financial terms, the Court's net operating cost increased slightly to £6,335k (from £6,133k in 2019-20). The accounts show that the Supreme Court and JCPC incurred total expenditure of £14,012k during 2020-21 (£7,345k of which was judicial and staff costs) and recouped almost £7,677k in court fees, contributions from the UK court services, and other income. The Statement of Comprehensive Net Expenditure represents the net total resources consumed during the year. The results for the year are set out in the Statement.
The Annual Report also sets out how the Court met its commitments in areas including international relations, sustainability and information assurance.
The Report was presented to Parliament under Section 54(1) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The accounts were presented to the House of Commons under Section 6(4) of the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000.
The full Report and Accounts can be downloaded via our website.
Janet Coull Trisic
Tel: 020 7960 1887
Sophia Linehan Biggs
Tel: 020 7960 1883
Tel: 020 7960 1894