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Average duration of care proceedings to first disposal up to 45 weeks

Between July to September 2021 the number of cases started in the Family Courts decreased by 11 per cent on the same quarter in 2020. In all, there were 63,084 new cases started in Family courts. This was due to decreases in all case types: matrimonial (15 per cent), public law (14 per cent), adoption (12 per cent), private law (10 per cent), domestic violence (8 per cent) and financial remedy (5 per cent) cases.

The figures are included in the latest statistics for the family court released by the Ministry of Justice.

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 45 weeks in July to September 2021, up 4 weeks from the same quarter in 2020. Only 24 per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – down 5 percentage points compared to the same period in 2020 .

By contrast, there was a decrease in the average time for divorce proceedings. The mean average time from petition to decree nisi was 26 weeks, and decree absolute was 55 weeks – down 3 weeks and up 4 weeks respectively when compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020. The median time to decree nisi and decree absolute was 14 and 32 weeks respectively.

There were 25,587 divorce petitions filed in July to September 2021, down 15 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2020. There were 27,412 decree absolutes granted in July to September 2021, an increase of 16 per cent from the same period last year.

The number of domestic violence remedy applications decreased by 8 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020, while the number of orders made decreased by 10 per cent over the same period.

Adoption applications decrease while the number of orders increase. In July to September 2021 there were 954 adoption applications, down 14 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2020. Whereas, the number of adoption orders issued increased by 7 per cent to 1,104.

There were 1,602 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in July to September 2021, down 8 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2020. Orders increased by 18 per cent in the latest quarter compared to the same period last year.

For the full statistics, click here. For a BBC News report concerning the decrease in adoptions of looked after children, click here.

17/12/21