Lord Chief Justice Concerned at Volume of Children Cases in Family Courts

November 2016          No: 2

In his annual report to parliament, the Lord Chief Justice has drawn attention to the volume of children cases, currently before the family court.  The number of cases started between January and March 2016, has increased by 24% on the same quarter in 2015.

The President of the Family Division has already stated that if this increase continues, it may have an adverse impact on how long it takes for cases to be completed.  The Lord Chief Justice also raises this concern.

The increase in the number of cases is causing concern, because the reasons for it, are not well understood at present.

Following the cut backs to legal aid for family cases, there is also an increase in the number of litigants in person appearing in the family courts.  It seems many people are choosing to apply to the court to resolve problems, rather than pursuing mediation, or instructing solicitors to help them explore a negotiated settlement.

This is a great pity, as Court proceedings often arise from one party having an unrealistic belief as to the likely outcome of such proceedings. Access to sensible legal advice might lead to more cases being resolved out of Court, in a more amicable way.

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