Every quarter, the Ministry of Justice release an article which details all of the Family Court Statistics. In this blog we take a look at some of the stats from October to December 2020:
- There was a 6% increase of applications started in The Family Court vs the same quarter in 2019.
- The average time for divorce proceedings was up 2 weeks and 4 weeks, for petition to decree nisi (30 weeks) and decree absolute (56 weeks).
- There was a 3% increase in applications relating to private law child arrangements compared to the same quarter in 2019 and it is taking longer for cases relating to contact and custody to reach a conclusion, with an average of 39 weeks for court applications started between October to December 2020, an increase of 11 weeks compared to the same period in 2019.
The statistician comments that the impact of COVID-19 continues to be seen across family court with noticeable improvement as work levels return to pre-lockdown levels. However, the timeliness of the Family Court still remains impacted by COVID-19 and the work to address the impact of COVID-19 to the family justice system is still in progress.
With a large number of outstanding cases in the Family Court, it seems clear that improvements in the timeliness of applications and orders will not be seen for some time. Nightingale courts are still being used to help cope with the demand on the Family Court and help to keep it running as effectively as possible.
I spoke in a recent article about how Bristol Family Judge, HHJ Wildblood, urged parents to avoid Family Court where possible as he suggested that the family justice system is clogged up with unnecessary applications. He continued to say that although there are many cases which need the protection and support of the court (such as cases where the welfare or safety of children is involved) many cases can be resolved outside of court, through Mediation which is more time efficient and cost effective. This in turn would mean that cases that needed the attention of the court could be dealt with faster and more effectively.
To read the full article, click here.
To read the full quarterly report for Family Court Statistics, click here. The data represented in this article has been taken from the Family Court Statistics Quarterly: October to December 2020 which is based on live administrative databases.
If you are considering submitting an application to the Family Court but feel it is something could be resolved via Mediation, please contact me today. If you are unsure of whether Mediation is for you, book a free no-obligation call with me where I will provide further information on my services and how I can help you.
I provide Online and in person Mediation Services in Bristol.