An increasing number of applications for permission to appeal, and of cases being brought from overseas to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, is recorded in the 2017-18 annual report and accounts of the UK Supreme Court, just published.

Covering the court's eighth full financial year, from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, the report reveals that during the year the Supreme Court heard 85 appeals, compared with 91 the year before, and delivered 78 judgments (compared with 76). The number of applications for permission to appeal considered by the Justices increased to 228, up 19% from the 192 in 2016/17, with the "grant rate" of cases given permission to appeal decreasing to 29% from 35%.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which is co-located with the Supreme Court and shares its administration, heard 43 appeals during 2017-18, down from the 47 in 2016-17, but gave more judgments (44 compared to 38). There was a considerable increase in cases being brought from the committee's various overseas jurisdictions – 113 applications for permission to appeal were received over the year, compared to 60 last year.

Writing her first foreword as President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale charts the changes to the bench. She notes: "It was a very proud moment when I was sworn in as President and I am deeply grateful to those who have placed such confidence in me." She also pays tribute to the former President, Lord Neuberger, for his intellectual eminence and many contributions to the law and to the judiciary, adding: "If I leave the court in as happy a place as he left it, I shall count my time here a success."

She expresses gratitude for the support that Lord Toulson gave the court, following his retirement in the summer of 2016, by sitting as a retired Justice on the supplementary panel, and reiterated that "our sympathies remain with Lady Toulson, and with all his family and friends" following his unexpected death in June 2017.

The summer of 2017 saw the retirement of both Lord Neuberger and Lord Clarke, who was the first of the new Justices to join the court when it was established in 2009. Lady Hale welcomes the three new Justices, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones and Lord Briggs – noting that "it was a particular pleasure" to have a second female Justice on the bench. Lord Mance was also confirmed as the new Deputy President.

The annual report highlights the court's historic first sitting outside London, which took place in Edinburgh for four days in June 2017. In her foreword Lady Hale mentions the preparations for the court's sitting in Belfast, which took place between 30 April and 3 May 2018, and signposts the next visit to Cardiff in 2019. She adds: "We are very conscious that we are the Supreme Court for the whole of the United Kingdom and must not appear to be trapped in a London 'bubble'."

Another key development during 2017-18 has been the use of video link equipment, to reduce the need for parties to travel for London for brief hearings. Following a successful pilot in 2016, permanent equipment has been installed in Court Three, where the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council sits, to allow for greater use of this technology in future. In his introduction, Mark Ormerod, the chief executive, notes that work to further improve this service will continue in the coming year.

Adding a new dimension to the many outreach activities of the Justices and court, in June 2017 a new writing competition launched. Its purpose is to encourage students to develop their knowledge of law and their interest in the work of the Supreme Court, and to hone their research skills. It attracted applications from young people across the UK, and the court is planning the launch of the next one in coming months.

In financial terms, the Court's net operating cost (excluding changes to the valuation of its building) decreased slightly to £4.7m (from £4.9m in 2016-17). The accounts show that the Supreme Court and JCPC spent £12.76m during 2017-18 (£6.1m of which was judicial and staff costs), and recouped almost £1.16m in court fees, contributions from the UK court services, and other income.

Click here to access the full report and accounts.