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Quarterly family court statistics

New statistics

09 April 2021
Quarterly family court statistics

The Ministry of Justice has published the latest quarterly statistics for the family court in England and Wales, covering October-December 2020. The impact of Covid-19 continues to show throughout these statistics, which show a 6% decrease in the number of cases disposed of, compared with the same period in 2019, while the number of cases started remained similar. This decrease mostly related to a decrease in disposals for matrimonial and adoption cases. The number of domestic violence remedy cases again reached record levels during this quarter.

A total of 68,634 new cases started in the family courts in October-December 2020, a 6% increase compared to the same quarter in 2019. The statistics show that during this period:

  • Domestic violence remedy order applications increased by 19% on the equivalent quarter in 2019, and the number of orders made also increased, by 20%. Throughout 2020, 35,984 applications and 39,427 orders were made – an increase of 20% and 17% respectively from 2019
  • 84% of domestic violence order applications were for non-molestation orders, and 16% were for occupation orders – increasing 23% and 3% respectively on October-December 2019. Of orders made, 94% were non-molestation orders, and 6% were occupation orders
  • Private law case starts increased by 3% from October-December 2019, to 13,973. Private law case disposals were up 4%, while there were 10% fewer court disposal events
  • 4,437 public law cases were started, 3% fewer than October-December 2019. Cases disposed also decreased by 1%
  • 27% of care and supervision cases reached first disposal within the 26-week limit, down 13% from the same period in 2019
  • The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 41 weeks – 8 weeks longer than in October-December 2019 and the longest time since mid-2013
  • Adoption applications decreased 4% on October-December 2019, and the number of orders issued decreased by 8%
  • The proportion of private law cases disposed of where both parties had legal representation increased by 1% on October-December 2019, to 21%. Neither the applicant nor the respondent had legal representation in 38% of cases, a 1% decrease on the same period in 2019
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