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Legal Services Board data demonstrate fluctuating demand for family law services during pandemic

Since June 2020, the Legal Services Board (LSB) has been tracking multiple data sources to provide the clearest picture it can of the impact of Covid-19 on legal services. Its Covid-19 research dashboard indicates the effect on demand for different legal services and the health of the market in England and Wales.

Recent updates to the dashboard include additional indicators relating to divorce applications and referrals to the National Centre for Domestic Violence.

Divorce applications received by HM Courts & Tribunals Service in November 2020 increased by 16 per cent to 11,700 compared to 10,000 in November 2019. However, there were significant fluctuations within the 12 months. Between April 2020 and July 2020 applications increased by 93 per cent but dipped in August 2020 to below 2019 levels. This summer peak may indicate a reluctance to issue proceedings during the first national lockdown with a subsequent spike showing that pent-up need. Applications increased again by 46 per cent between August and October 2020.

Referrals to the National Centre for Domestic Violence increased by 13 per cent to 7,500 in December 2020 compared to 6,700 in December 2019. However, there were significant fluctuations within the 12 months. There was a 23 per cent increase between April 2020 and July 2020, followed by a downward trend between August and November 2020.

To view the LSB's Covid-19 research dashboard, click here.