The latest statistical bulletin relating to activity within the family courts of England and Wales has been published by the Ministry of Justice and, for the first time, includes figures on Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPOs).
The bulletin provides provisional figures for the most recent quarter (July to September 2015) with accompanying commentary and analysis. The figures form a summary overview of the volume of cases handled by the England and Wales family courts, with statistics also providing a breakdown of the main types of case involved. This bulletin also includes figures concerning FGMPOs for the first time since their introduction in July 2015.
Key findings for the last quarter include:
The number of cases that started in family courts in England and Wales in July to September 2015 was 61,449; nearly the same as that for the equivalent quarter of 2014, maintaining a steady flat trend. Nearly half of new cases are divorce cases.
The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application made in July to September 2015 was 28 weeks, and the trend over the past year has remained stable at this level following the longer-term downward trend seen since 2011.
60% of care or supervision proceedings were disposed of within 26 weeks, following on from the 26-week time limit for completing these cases introduced in the Children and Families Act 2014.
There has been a decrease in the timeliness for private law cases overall in the last year – a trend seen post-LASPO reforms during 2013 and early 2014, which now seems to be reversing with timeliness returning to pre-LASPO levels.
There has been a general upward trend in the number of applications for non-molestation domestic violence remedy orders since the end of 2012, and, following the drop seen at the end of 2014 there was a slight increase in the latest quarter.
There were 28 applications and 18 orders made for FGMPOs in July to September 2015, following their introduction on 17 July 2015.
The recent drop in the number of adoption orders issued has continued, with a 17% drop seen in July to September 2015 compared o the equivalent quarter for 2014, driven by the number of adoption orders issued to male/female couples falling by 25%.
There has been a gradual upward trend in the total number of applications and orders made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Applications relating to deprivation of liberty increased from 109 in 2013 to 525 in 2014. There were 386 applications made in the last quarter; similar to the 288 for the previous quarter. The overall upward trend follows the Supreme Court decision on 19 March 2014 whereby it was considered a person could be deprived of their liberty in their own home, sheltered accommodation etc, and not just the nursing homes and hospitals which were previously covered.
There were nearly 127,748 Last Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in July to September 2015; similar to the high seen in the previous quarter and up nearly 40% on the same quarter from 2014. This is largely due to increased publicity and new online forms which have been introduced to make it simpler and faster to apply for LPAs.
The full report is available to view and download here.