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New family case starts rose 14 per cent during April to June 2021

Between April and June 2021 there was an increase in new cases started across nearly all types of family law matter. In all, 66,357 new cases started in family courts in April to June 2021, up 14 per cent on the same quarter in 2020.

The figures are included in the latest statistics for the family court released by the Ministry of Justice.

There were increases in financial remedy (76 per cent), private law (11 per cent), adoption (11 per cent) and matrimonial (7 per cent) cases. However, there was a decrease in public law (7 per cent) and domestic violence (4 per cent) case starts.

On average, care proceedings took longer with more disposals within 26 weeks. The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 44 weeks in April to June 2021, up eight weeks from the same quarter in 2020. Twenty-two per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, down 11 percentage points compared to the same period in 2020 and the lowest since 2012.

In divorce, the mean average time from petition to decree nisi was 25 weeks, and decree absolute was 50 weeks – up two weeks and four weeks respectively when compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020. The median time to decree nisi and decree absolute was 14 and 29 weeks respectively.

There was an increase in both divorce petitions and decree absolutes. There were 26,301 divorce petitions filed in April to June 2021, up 7 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2020. There were 30,645 decree absolutes granted in April to June 2021, an increase of 23 per cent from the same period last year.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications decreased by 6 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020, while the number of orders made decreased by 2 per cent over the same period.

In April to June 2021 there were 1,060 adoption applications, up 27 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2020. Similarly, the number of adoption orders issued increased by 96 per cent to 1,156 (from a record low base at the start of the covid-19 UK lockdown period).

There were 1,538 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in April to June 2021, up 51 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2020. Orders increased by 20 per cent in the latest quarter compared to the same period last year.

For the full statistics, click here.

3/10/21