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Care cases now taking 49 weeks: Family Court statistics published

The latest quarterly family court statistics have been published by the Ministry of Justice. They cover the period of January to March 2022.

The statistics show that the average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 49 weeks in January to March 2022, up 6 weeks compared to the same quarter in 2021. Seventeen per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, down 5 percentage points compared to the same period in 2021.

In all, there were 68,134 new cases started in Family courts in January to March 2022, down 6 per cent on the same quarter in 2021. This was due to decreases in most case types: financial remedy (18 per cent), adoption (17 per cent), private law (9 per cent) and matrimonial (2 per cent) cases. However, there was an increase in public law (4 per cent) and domestic violence (2 per cent) case starts.

The mean average time from divorce petition to decree nisi was 26 weeks, and decree absolute was 56 week – the time to nisi was similar to the equivalent quarter in 2021 whilst time to absolute was up 5 weeks. The median time to decree nisi and decree absolute was 12 and 33 weeks respectively.

There were 30,154 divorce petitions filed in January to March 2022, down 2 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2021. There were 23,973 decree absolutes granted in January to March 2022, a decrease of 20 per cent from the same period last year.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications increased by 3 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2021, while the number of orders made decreased by 8 per cent over the same period.

In January to March 2022 there were 1,014 adoption applications, down 14 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2021. Similarly, the number of adoption orders issued decreased by 24 per cent to 890.

There were 1,666 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in January to March 2022, up 14 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2021. Orders decreased by 35 per cent in the latest quarter compared to the same period last year.

For the full statistics and analysis, click here.

9/7/22