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Family Court activity between July and September 2020 returns to 2019 levels

Domestic violence remedy case starts up 26 per cent

The latest statistics issued by the Ministry of Justice show that activity in the family courts revived between July and September 2020 following the decline in the previous quarter. Between July and September there 68,805 new cases started in the family courts which represents minimal change in the number of cases started compared with the same quarter in 2019.

There were increases in private law (up 8 per cent), financial remedy (up 5 per cent) and domestic violence remedy case starts (up 26 per cent), and decreases in adoption (down 12 per cent) and matrimonial case starts (down 10 per cent).

On average, care proceedings took longer with fewer disposals within 26 weeks. The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 40 weeks in July to September 2020, up seven weeks from the same quarter in 2019. Twenty-nine per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, down 12 percentage points compared to the same period in 2019 and the lowest level since mid-2013.

The mean average time from petition to decree nisi was 29 weeks, and decree absolute was 53 weeks – both down one week when compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019. The median time to decree nisi and decree absolute was 22 and 38 weeks respectively.

There were 27,803 divorce petitions filed in July to September 2020, down 10 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2019. There were 22,097 decrees absolute granted in July to September 2020, a decrease of 24 per cent from the same period last year.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications increased by 26 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019, while the number of orders made increased by 18 per cent over the same period.

In July to September 2020 there were 1,067 adoption applications, down 9 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2019. Similarly, the number of adoption orders issued decreased by 21 per cent to 1,009.

There were 1,744 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in July to September 2020, up 29 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2019 and the highest level since the series began. Orders increased by 45 per cent in the latest quarter compared to the same period last year.

For the full statistics, click here.

20/12/20