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Private law family hearings are shorter where neither party is represented

Ministry of Justice publishes ‘experimental statistics’

'Experimental statistics' produced by the Ministry of Justice appear to suggest that hearings in private law family cases in which neither part is represented are shorter than those in which at least one part is represented.
The Ministry of Justice has published statistics to address the known evidence gap in relation to hearing duration. The MoJ stresses that there are key caveats and data quality issues to be considered when looking at the results and further work is planned to complement the findings of these initial analyses.

The average hearing duration for cases starting between April 2012 and March 2013 (pre-LASPO) and disposed of within 12 weeks was compared with that for cases starting between April 2013 and March 2014 (postLASPO) and disposed of within 12 weeks. Initial findings show:

Resolution says that these findings, based on average rather than actual hearing times, directly contradict the experience of Resolution members working in the family courts. A recent survey of Resolution lawyers found that almost 70% said when they act for a party in family proceedings where one or more of the other parties is a litigant in person, family court resources have to be diverted, and 80% of respondents to the survey said that the legal costs of the represented party increase when one or more litigants in person are involved in a case.

The full MoJ report is here.

28/11/14