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Care proceedings taking, on average, 33 weeks to first disposal

New cases started in family courts in last quarter up 5 per cent on a year ago

On average, the time taken for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 33 weeks in January to March 2019, more than three weeks up from the same quarter in 2018. 42 per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – down 7 percentage points compared with the same period for 2018.

The figures are revealed in the latest statistics for family courts from the Ministry of Justice.

66,340 new cases started in family courts in January to March 2019, up 5 per cent on January to March 2018, due to a 6 per cent rise in matrimonial cases (44 per cent of all case starts, mainly divorce proceedings), and an increase in domestic violence (15 per cent) and private law (12 per cent) cases.

For divorce proceedings, the average time from petition to Decree Nisi was 33 weeks, and Decree Absolute was 59 weeks, up 6 and 8 weeks respectively compared to the equivalent quarter in 2018.

In January to March 2019, there were 13,677 private law cases started, up 12 per cent on the same quarter in 2018. Applications also increased by 12 per cent.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications increased by 15 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2018. The number of domestic violence remedy orders made increased by 10 per cent over the same period. For more information specific to domestic violence applications and orders, click here.

There were 126 forced marriage protection orders made in January to March 2019, more than double the equivalent quarter in 2018 but similar to the previous quarter.

Adoption applications and orders were up for the second quarter in a row, following a downward trend. In January to March 2019, there were 1,324 adoption applications, up 1 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2018. Over the same period the number of adoption orders issued increased by 3 per cent to 1,331.

There were 1,326 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in January to March 2019, up 9 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2018. Deprivation of liberty orders were up 17 per cent over the same period, but down 4 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

For the full statistics, click here.

28/6/19