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Care cases now taking 41 weeks to first disposal

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 41 weeks in October to December 2020, up 8 weeks from the same quarter in 2019. 27 per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – down 13 percentage points compared to the same period in 2019. The figures are revealed in latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice.

The average time to first disposal throughout 2020 was 38 weeks, up 5 weeks from 2019. 31 per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, down 10 percentage points from 2019.

68,634 new cases started in Family courts in October to December 2020, up 6 per cent on the same quarter in 2019. This was due to increases in most case types: domestic violence (21 per cent), financial remedy (8 per cent), matrimonial (5 per cent) and private law (3 per cent) cases. However, there was a decrease in public law (3 per cent) case starts. Annually, there were 264,091 new cases started in Family courts throughout 2020, similar to 2019.

The mean average time from divorce petition to decree nisi was 30 weeks, and decree absolute was 56 weeks – up two weeks and four weeks respectively when compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019. The median time to decree nisi and decree absolute was 20 and 39 weeks respectively. Throughout 2020 the mean time from petition to decree nisi was 28 weeks and 53 weeks to decree absolute, each down 3 weeks respectively.

There were 28,672 divorce petitions filed in October to December 2020, up 5 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2019. There were 23,810 decree absolutes granted in October to December 2020, a decrease of 24 per cent from the same period last year. Annually, there were 111,996 divorce petitions filed and 97,068 decree absolutes granted throughout 2020, down 4 per cent and 11 per cent respectively from 2019.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications increased by 19 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019, while the number of orders made increased by 20 per cent over the same period. There were 35,984 applications and 39,427 orders made throughout 2020, up 20 per cent and up 17 per cent respectively from 2019.

In October to December 2020 there were 1,180 adoption applications, down 4 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2019. Similarly, the number of adoption orders issued decreased by 8 per cent to 1,106. Annually, there were 4,229 applications and 3,826 orders for adoption in 2020, down 15 per cent and 24 per cent respectively from 2019.

There were 1,363 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in October to December 2020, up 16 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2019. Orders decreased by 8 per cent in the latest quarter compared to the same period last year. There were 4,932 applications and 3,518 orders relating to deprivation of liberty throughout 2020, down 5 per cent and up 26 per cent respectively.

For the full statistics, click here.

29/3/21