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12 JAN 2012

New court statistics show the average duration of family cases

Justice SystemThe Government has released a new set of court statistics on the average duration of civil and family cases at every County Court. The statistics allow the public to see how quickly cases are handled at their local court, and to compare it to other courts across England and Wales.

The new statistics showed that in July to September 2011, on average care proceedings took 55 weeks.  There were 7,700 children involved in public law applications made in the third quarter of 2011, a 28 per cent increase on the same period for 2010.

There were 30,400 decrees absolute granted for the dissolution of marriage in the third quarter of 2011; a decrease of one per cent compared to the third quarter of 2010.

Domestic violence applications decreased 15 per cent to 5,500 in the third quarter of 2011, compared with the corresponding quarter in 2010.

There were 30,200 children involved in private law applications made in the third quarter of 2011; a five per cent decrease on the third quarter of 2010. The trend in the number of children involved in private law applications has been downward since late 2009.

Courts Minister Jonathan Djanogly said: "The figures released today show that sometimes the court process can simply be too time-consuming. That is why we have a comprehensive reform programme underway.

"There are two ways we can solve this problem. Firstly, by giving more people the opportunity to take charge of resolving their own disputes through mediation, rather than using lawyers and a judge. This can be quicker and less stressful for all parties, especially where children are involved.

"Secondly, by improving technology, processes and ways of working in the civil, family and criminal justice systems."

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