Private law cases involving contact disputes for children have risen dramatically by 42% in a year, according to figures published by Cafcass.
Private law demand is typically used to refer to applications made following a divorce or separation about the arrangements for children, such as where a child will live or with whom a child will spend time.
But while the number of public law care proceedings fell by 2.3% between April 2020 and April 2021, the number of private law cases soared.
“We received 3,648 new private law cases in April 2021 which is 1,092 cases (42.7%) more than the same period in 2020. These cases involved 5,541 children, which is 1,645 (42.2%) more children than April 2020,” said Cafcass.
There were 1,322 public law cases in April 2021 involving 2,099 children. In April 2020, there were 1,363 public law cases involving 2,258 children.
There were 898 care applications made in April 2021, involving 1,446 children. The previous year in April 2020 there were 1,075 care applications made involving 1,778 children.
Care applications were soaring for many years raising fears among the judiciary over courts capacity. However, the number of care applications dipped in 2017-2018 to 14,221 and the annual total has since fallen steadily to 12,801 in 2020-2021.