The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has published its most recent statistical bulletin presenting statistics
relating to family courts.
The bulletin presents statistics on activity in the family courts of England and Wales
and provides provisional figures for the latest quarter (January to March
2015) with accompanying commentary and analysis. The figures give a
summary overview of the volume of cases dealt with by these courts over
time, with statistics also broken down for the main types of case involved.
Key findings include:
The number of cases that started in family courts in England and
Wales in January to March 2015 dropped 4% to 60,902 compared to
the equivalent quarter of 2014, but the recent trend remains steadily
flat. Nearly half of these new cases are divorce cases.
The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application
made in January to March 2015 was 29 weeks. Although it is a drop
from the 32 weeks for the equivalent quarter in 2014, the trend over
the past year has remained stable at this level.
Over 55% 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.
There has been a general upward trend in the number of applications
for non-molestation domestic violence protection orders since the
end of 2012, but there has been a 10% drop in the last two quarters
since Q3 2014.
There has also been a general upward trend in the number of
adoption orders issued since 2012, but with a 9% drop seen in the
last two quarters.
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. In Q1 2015 there were 236 more applications,
suggesting the upward trend is increasing even more. This follows
the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West 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 120,010 Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in January to
March 2015, the highest quarterly figure so far recorded and an
increase of 42 per cent since the same quarter for 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.