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Decline in family cases going to court

Decline in family cases going to court

Decline in family cases going to court

Every quarter the Ministry of Justice publishes statistics regarding how many new Family cases were begun during the reporting period and the type of case started. The latest quarter to be published covers October to December 2023 and shows there were decreases in most family law case types, including divorce, domestic violence, public law and private law children cases. The only rise in case starts during the same period related to financial remedy case starts.

During the reporting period there were 23,517 divorce applications made under new divorce legislation which came into effect from 6 April 2022. 75% were from sole applicants and 25% from joint applicants, including those for dissolution of civil partnerships. The mean average time for divorce and annulment cases to reach the granting of the Decree Nisi/Conditional Order (the first disposal stage) was 42 weeks – this includes both old and new divorce cases, with the former covering applications which would have been made some time ago, and the latter incorporating a 20-week wait between application and the conditional order. For new cases alone, the mean average time was 37 weeks, which continues to prove that there is no such thing as a “quickie divorce”.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications decreased by 6% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2022, while the number of orders made decreased by 8% over the same period. There were 31,604 applications and 36,584 orders made throughout 2023, down 1% and 5% respectively from 2022. Whilst these percentage decreases may appear small, they should be celebrated.

The Bar Council has also drawn attention to the fact that for 2023 as a whole, 39% of private law family cases had both the applicant and the respondent acting as litigants in person, whilst both had legal representation in only 19% of cases. Both percentages are unchanged from 2022.

What does acting as litigant in person mean? 

Acting as litigant in person is when you have no form of legal representation at all and you are dealing with the proceedings on your own. You are responsible for preparing documents for the court regarding your case and you will correspond directly with the other party or their legal team and the court. You also attend court hearings on your own and speak directly to the judge or magistrate about your case and the orders you would like the court to make.

Seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity could avoid another case going to court and becoming another statistic. Court should be seen as the absolute last resort in all family cases and all forms of non-court dispute resolution should be explored first. Our experienced family law solicitors can discuss all such options and seek the best method for each client’s specific set of circumstances.

For more information or to book an initial consultation contact our family law team today at Kerseys Solicitors in Ipswich at [email protected] or telephone 01473 213311Kerseys Solicitors in Felixstowe at [email protected] on 01394 834557 or Kerseys Solicitors in Colchester at [email protected]
on 01206 584584.

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