Cafcass has published research which shows the scale of private law cases that come back to court. The research shows that 30% of the 40,599 private law applications involving Cafcass in 2016/17 had been to court before. The majority of these returned within two years and almost a third had been to court at least twice before. Cafcass identified four principal causes for returning cases:
safeguarding concerns raised by parties;
high conflict between adults;
changes in life circumstances; and
the child’s wishes and feelings.
‘Cafcass data is a valuable resource that helps us build a picture of the complex circumstances bringing private law cases back to court. We hope the research will inform sector understanding of the rise in private law applications and help us identify ways to work with children and families in complex cases in a way which brings about a much earlier safe conclusion that is in their best interests.’