Spotlight
Family Law Awards 2020
Shortlist announced - time to place your vote!
Court of Protection Practice 2020
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Spotlight
Latest articles
Resolution issues Brexit notes for family lawyers ahead of IP completion day
Family lawyer organisation, Resolution, has issued two joint notes to assist family lawyers in England and Wales ahead of the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period at 11 pm on 31 December...
Online filing is real-time on New Year's Eve: practice direction change to accommodate EU withdrawal arrangements
I have heard that there will be an amendment to the relevant practice directions to provide that online applications received on New Year’s Eve after 4:30 PM and before 11:00 PM will count as...
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v AB
The issue in this case concerned AB’s capacity to make specific decisions about treatment relating to her anorexia nervosa. She was 28 years old and had suffered with anorexia since the age of...
EU laws continue until at least 2038 and beyond
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020.  But in matters of law it fully leaves on 31 December 2020.  But EU laws will continue to apply, and be applied, in the English family courts from 1...
Remote hearings in family proceedings – how is justice perceived?
The motion for the recent Kingsley Napley debate:  “This House believes remote hearings are not remotely fair” was carried with a fairly balanced 56% in favour and 44% against....
View all articles
Authors

Latest Family Court statistics show divorces are taking longer

Mar 29, 2019, 13:00 PM
court statistics, family law, ministry of justice
The Ministry of Justice has published the latest quarterly edition of statistics on the Family Courts.
Slug :
Meta Title : Latest Family Court statistics show divorces are taking longer
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : Yes
Prioritise In Trending Articles : Yes
Date : Mar 29, 2019, 12:51 PM
Article ID :

The Ministry of Justice has published the latest quarterly edition of statistics on the Family Courts. 

Of particular note were the findings that: 

  • There was a continued creeping up of how long divorce is taking - for those granted decree nisi, the average time from petition to decree nisi and decree absolute were each up 5 weeks to 29 weeks and 54 weeks respectively, the highest figures so far for the periods covered by the bulletin.
  • There is clear evidence of cases taking longer – public law (care) cases have gone up by 2 weeks year on year, to 30 weeks, despite the 26 week rule introduced in 2014.  Only 49% of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, a decrease of 8% year on year.

Jo Edwards, Head of Family at Forsters LLP comments:

“The latest Family Court quarterly statistics (for the period October to December 2018, and therefore completing the stats for 2018) show some worrying trends becoming embedded into people’s day to day experience of the family justice system. Although courts modernisation, and the move to online divorce and increasing digitisation, are welcome, the reality is that those changes will take time and in the meantime the effect of the swathes of court closures and other cuts in the MoJ budget, coupled with the huge rise in the number of applications year on year and the continued growth in the number of unrepresented litigants, mean that the family courts continue to buckle under the weight of pressure and are at absolute breaking point. 
On every single measure – number of applications being issued/needing determination, the amount of time divorces and other private law applications are taking to be disposed of, the failure to meet the 26 week rule in the majority of public law cases, the huge swathes of litigants in person in the system – it feels as though the court system is failing. That is not for want of effort on the part of those who work in the family justice system, but due to chronic underfunding, the impact of court closures before the courts modernisation programme has caught up and the impact of the legal aid cuts 6 years on. It is also interesting to reflect 5 years on upon the effect of the huge swathe of changes which were introduced in the family justice system in April 2014 – including the coming into being of the single family court, new child arrangements orders (meant to  reduce litigation by abolishing ‘residence’ and ‘contact’), the 26 week rule in care cases, the statutory MIAM (intended to divert more cases away from court but not having that effect), and see what more can be done.
Unfortunately, there is a perfect storm of factors which is leading the family court ever closer to the brink. The long-awaited impact assessment of the legal aid cuts has failed to deliver much which will be tangible benefit to family cases, and the courts modernisation programme has recently been extended. All the while, too many are left having to represent themselves; or get to court to find that no judge is available to hear their case following all the cuts. Although the move to privatised justice has helped those who can afford to pay to have a private judge, the many thousands of other families passing through the family courts each year who are unable to resolve their issues are entitled to know that a judge will be available to determine their case swiftly and having heard all the facts.”
Categories :
  • News
Tags :
Authors
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Load more comments
Comment by from