Family Court Statistics and Covid-19

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Family Court Quarterly Statistics

The Ministry of Justice has now published its up to date set of quarterly statistics on the work of the Family Courts for the period from October 2019 to December 2019.

As a result, a comparison can be made once the figures for January 2020 to March 2020 have been published, in light of the current climate surrounding Covid-19.

The key findings of the Ministry of Justice Report are as follows:

  • 39% of Divorce Petitions are now being filed electronically as opposed to physically (hard copies). Of course, it is likely that this figure will increase as legal representatives and parties alike adjust to working remotely following the strict measures currently in place as a result of Covid-19.
  • There has been a 5% decrease in matrimonial proceedings issued at the Family Court. It is speculated that this could be the result of parties waiting for the ‘no fault divorce’ legislation which has been promised by the Government for some time.
  • The average time from the Divorce Petition being issued to Decree Nisi being pronounced has increased by 3 weeks. Further, the average time for obtaining Decree Absolute has increased by 2 weeks. It could be that these increased figures are the result of the court working through historical cases. However, as we anticipate more divorces will be issued online, it is likely that there will be a reduction in the average length of time for divorce proceedings being completed going forward.
  • Private Children Act cases have increased by 5%, likely due to the removal of Legal Aid for these types of cases. The increase could also be due to a greater awareness of domestic abuse and/or perhaps even the general increase in the number of families.
  • The number of financial remedy applications has decreased by 3%.

It will be interesting to compare these statics to those not yet published for the period January 2020 to March 2020 in order that we can see how the courts, legal representative and parties themselves are dealing with the restrictions amid the Covid-19 crisis.

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Author Colin Freeman View Profile
Colin qualified as a solicitor in 1998. He specialises predominantly in family law, litigation / dispute resolution, wills, probate and settlement agreements and has notable cases reported in the Court of Appeal and High Court.
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