The number of criminal trials delayed in West Midlands courts is at an all-time low, according to the region's criminal justice board.
Approximately 15.9 per cent of all crown court trials are postponed, compared with 27.7 per cent three years ago. Nationally, 14.4 per cent of crown court trials are delayed.
The proportion of postponed trials at West Midlands magistrates' courts has fallen in the last three years ago to 22.6 per cent from 27 per cent. This is just below the national average of 22.7 per cent.
The West Midlands Criminal Justice Board, which works as an umbrella unit for all organisations working for the region's courts, believes this is partly because more effort has been made to ensure witnesses are told in good time about court cases and have transport available to get there.
Hilary Thompson, the board's chairman, said: "For too long trials have endlessly been prolonged and dragged on until witnesses have got bored. We are now doing our absolute best to make sure witnesses have practical advice through Witness Care Units.
"We are also more efficient at making all the paperwork ready for the start of a trial. Now the focus is on not waiting around.
"These figures represent the significant progress we have made in improving people's experience of the criminal justice system."
Barristers have been sent rules to improve efficiency in the criminal courts, called the Criminal Procedure Rules. These are designed to mimic the changes that have been made to civil courts in the last five years.
But some of Birmingham's criminal barristers believe even more could be done to reduce the number of postponed trials.
Mark Haywood, a criminal barrister at No5 Chambers in the city centre, said: "Only a limited number of courtrooms in the West Midlands have television links. This means these courtrooms are overbooked and creates a waiting list for them.
"The ideal would be for all courtrooms, particularly those in the smaller towns, to have this equipment."
Mr Haywood also believes the number of delays is at an all-time-low because there are fewer cases coming through the courts.
He said: "There is less work sent to the courts in the first place because the Crown Prosecution Service has put lawyers in police stations. The lawyers advise police before people are charged and this means that often there are fewer cases to deal with.
"However, the reduction is also down to greater efficiency. Cases are being sent from the magistrates' courts to the crown courts much more quickly. There is much more emphasis on looking at how long realistically it is before a case is ready to be heard. This might mean estimating how long DNA or forensic evidence will take to gather."
However, some criminal justice experts worry that the courts are speeding up the rate at which trials proceed at the expense of handing out justice.
Professor Lee Bridges, a criminal justice expert at Warwick University, said: "There has clearly been a big push to stop unnecessary adjournments in courts. I am worried that to speed things up, the prosecution and defence are not being given enough time to get ready.
"I think we may actually be speeding things up at the expense of doing the job properly.
"A lot of pressure is being put on people to plead guilty as well. If a defendant pleads guilty rather than opts for a trial, he or she gets a reduced sentence. I think that could encourage people to plead guilty when they might be deemed innocent if they were to go on trial.
"This could also explain why the number of delayed trials has reduced."