Family Court statistics December 2022 - and what they tell us - Family Law Partners

Family Court statistics December 2022 – and what they tell us

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The latest Family Court quarterly statistics were published on 15th December by the Ministry of Justice and made for interesting reading.

During the third quarter of 2022, there was an 8% increase in the number of divorce applications made when compared with the same quarter in 2021. This is not surprising as the continued impact of the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce is felt and also the more general continued post-Covid recovery, with the number of divorce cases started in this past quarter (a total of 28,921) being similar to the numbers seen in pre-Covid years.

However, the really interesting statistics are in relation to applications for a financial remedy, which were down a whopping 20% from the same period in 2021 to just 9,475. This continues the trend seen in Q2 of this year where there were just 9,237 applications, which, save for Q2 in 2020 (i.e. when we entered the first national lockdown) saw the lowest number of applications made since the publication of quarterly statistics began in 2009.

Breaking these figures down further, the majority of applications are consented (72%), which follows the pattern of the past few years where the splits were 74/26 in 2021, 70/30 in 2020 and 67/33 in both 2018 and 2019. With the extreme delays in the court system continuing, and cases taking longer to reach a conclusion (and therefore costing clients a lot more money) it is arguable that this decrease is due to increasing numbers of clients heeding solicitors’ warnings about keeping cases out of the court system, and turning to other methods of dispute resolution to resolve their financial matters instead.

Despite the decrease in applications there are still significant court backlogs. During Resolution’s recent ‘Good Divorce Week’ they reported that official figures show that private children cases are taking nearly a year to reach conclusion, six weeks longer than the previous year, with financial remedy cases taking even longer. This is having a huge impact and a survey of Resolution members found:

  • 20% said court delays caused clients to rely on benefits
  • 34% said they’d referred a client to a counsellor or therapist to help them cope with the stress of ongoing court delays
  • 90% said court backlogs were causing additional and unnecessary stress and pressure for clients

If you would like to find out more about whether non-court processes would be suitable for you or what you can do to try and save time and costs if you are involved in court proceedings please contact us.

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