The country’s highest court heard fewer appeals and gave fewer judgments over the last year, despite sitting for more days, its annual report revealed.

The Supreme Court sat for 136 days in the year ending 31 March 2014, nine more than the previous year, but heard 31 (26%) fewer appeals and gave judgment in 34 (30%) fewer cases.

The report explained that this was due to longer hearings, a growth in appeals heard by panels of seven or nine justices and fewer linked appeals.

Applications for permission to appeal considered rose by 34% to 269, with requests to bring criminal appeals up from eight to 19 and a rise in public law cases about employment, housing and taxation. Applications to hear appeals about legal procedure fell from 38 to 22.

The court granted permission to appeal in a smaller proportion of judicial review, immigration and family law cases and handed down fewer judgments on crime, immigration and tax issues. There were more decisions relating to prisoner detention and contract law.

Litigants in person applying for permission to appeal stayed at 24 out of the total of 231. Supreme Court President, Lord Neuberger, said: “We have had an unusual number of particularly demanding cases, which is reflected in the fact that the average time between hearing and judgment has increased from last year, and the number of decisions is lower than last year.”