Support the #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Family court case duration falls to all time low

The average length of time taken for family court cases has fallen to a record low according to the latest family court statistics.


A 26-week time limit for family court cases was introduced in the Children and Families Act 2014. Figures show that the length of cases has been reduced from 50 weeks in 2011 to 27 weeks, meaning that while case duration has plummeted dramatically, the 26 week target is not yet being met.

The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application made in April to June 2016 was 27 weeks, remaining steady over the past year, said the report. However, 60% of care or supervision proceedings were disposed of within 26 weeks, following the introduction of the time limit.

The fall in the length of cases comes against a backdrop of a surge in the number of care applications. Following the publicity surrounding the Baby P case, the number of children involved in public law applications made by local authorities jumped from around 20,000 to almost 26,000 in 2009 and subsequently to 29,500 in 2011, according to the latest Ministry of Justice statistics. Figures remained fairly steady at around 7,000 per quarter, but there has been an increase over the last 12 months, with 8,972 children involved in public law applications in April to June 2016, an increase of 21% from the equivalent quarter in 2015.

Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas has warned of pressures on the organisation after care applications have risen by 14% during a year. The surge in the number of care applications during 2015-2016 has become a “major issue” for Cafcass, Douglas warned.

The MoJ figures states that there was a 10% rise in the number of cases that began in family courts in England and Wales between April to June 2016 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

There were 66,328 cases started in the family courts in England and Wales. There has been a particularly large rise in the number of public and private law cases, 24% and 16% respectively. There were 60,373 cases disposed in April to June 2016.

The figures show that 1,429 applications were made for an adoption order, down 4% from the same quarter in 2015.

The number of applications for domestic violence remedy orders has remained stable over the last year at around 4,700 non-molestation and 1,200 occupation applications. Following their introduction in July 2015, there have been 77 applications and 68 orders made for Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPOs) up to the end of June 2016.

Applications relating to deprivation of liberty doubled over the last 12 months from 386 made in April to June 2015 to 743 in the latest quarter, the statistics show.

There has been a steady upward trend in the number of applications and orders made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and a 13% increase in applications in the latest quarter from April to June 2015.

Family court statistics are available here


Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

New Deprivation of Liberty court launch for children


A National Deprivation of Liberty Court dealing specifically with applications relating to deprive children of their liberty has been announced by Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division.

The court will deal with applications seeking authorisation to deprive children of their liberty and will be based at the Royal Courts of Justice under the [...]

Read Full Story

Independent review into CSE in Oldham finds child protection procedures were not followed


Some children have been failed by the agencies that were meant to protect them because child protection procedures had not been properly followed, an independent assurance review into historic child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oldham has found.

Evidence of poor practice was attributed to a structural flaw the review team found in the multi-agency system [...]

Read Full Story

Sixty Second Interview with Chloe Bach


Find out more about our Business Administrator Chloe Bach who has been with WillisPalmer since 2009.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee (oat milk latte)

What 3 things would you put in Room 101?

Migraines, slugs and war

What is your favourite place in the world?

Wherever my family is (but I do love New York)

If you were on death row what [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
WP Quality Assured

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram