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Average duration of care proceedings remains at 28 weeks

New family law cases in July to September up 2% on a year ago

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 28 weeks in July to September 2017, one week up from the same quarter in 2016 but remaining steady compared to the previous two quarters.

The latest statistics released by the Ministry of Justice reveal that 59 per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks. This is down 4 percentage points over the same period for 2016.

There were 65,247 new cases started in family courts in July to September 2017, up 2 per cent on the corresponding period in 2016. This was mainly due to increases in domestic violence remedy order applications and private law cases (up 10 and 4 per cent respectively).

The removal of legal aid for many private law cases in April 2013 has resulted in a change in the pattern of legal representation over time. In July to September 2017, the proportion of disposals where neither the applicant nor respondent had legal representation was 35 per cent, an increase of 18 percentage points since April to June 2013. Correspondingly, the proportion of cases where both parties had legal representation dropped by 16 percentage points to 19 per cent over the same period.

In July to September 2017, it took on average 23 weeks for private law cases to reach a final order, i.e. case closure, up slightly on the same period in 2016. There are continued signs of a reversal in the downward trend seen since the middle of 2014.

In July to September 2017, there were 1,373 adoption order applications, down 6 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2016. Similarly, over the same period the number of adoption orders issued decreased 11 per cent to 1,305.
There were 1,077 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in July to September 2017, up 38 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2016.

Deprivation of liberty orders were up 57 per cent over the same period, from 362 to 569.

For the full statistics, click here.