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Care cases taking 36 weeks, according to latest court statistics

Duration of care cases down 25% since September 2012

The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application dropped to 36 weeks (down 25% from July to September 2012 and down 34% from July to September 2011). This has been revealed by the latest statistical bulletin for the courts (covering July to September 2013).

The average duration for private law disposals where both parties were represented was 23 weeks (up 39% from July to September 2012).

Family courts deal with around 270,000 new cases each year. The number of cases that started in family courts in England and Wales remained at around 70,000 in July to September 2013 with the largest proportion (43%) being for divorce applications.

Public law: in July - September 2013 there were 3,673 new cases (fairly stable since 2011) which related to public law and 4,220 cases that reached a final disposal (continuing the upward trend). The average time for the disposal of care and supervision cases was 35.8 weeks. 

Private law: there were 14,053 cases started (similar to equivalent quarters in previous years) in private law and 14,944 cases that reached a final disposal (an increase over the first two quarters of the year, as seen in previous years), in July - September 2013. 

Divorce: there were 28,427 petitions filed for divorce and 29,960 decrees absolute made in July - September 2013. 

Financial remedies: there were 10,924 cases started and 8,805 cases with a disposal in July - September 2013. 

Domestic violence: there were 5,387 cases started and 4,971 cases with a disposal in July - September 2013, both continuing the upward trend seen over recent quarters.

Forced marriage protection: there were 43 new forced marriage protection order cases, and 32 cases with a disposal made in July - September 2013. 

Adoption: there were 3,952 cases started and 3,479 cases disposed, under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 in July - September 2013.

The statistical bulletin is here.

20/12/13