According to the Law Society Gazette, family court cases are continuing to grow. The government have been urged to respond to this by ensuring that there is sufficient judicial capacity to deal with the family court backlogs, which has now reached 110,000 according to the latest HM Court & Tribunal Service figures.
This increase is reflected in both private law cases and public law cases. The result of the increase in cases coupled with the court backlogs means that it can take much longer for family matters to conclude via the court process. The average time to complete a case currently stands between 43- 45 weeks. For families, this means that distressing events in their lives such as divorce, securing child arrangements and domestic abuse are taking much longer to resolve.
Going to Court is never a ‘quick fix’ and the Courts are of the view that judicial intervention should be a last resort option, and alternative dispute resolution is advised in cases where it can be appropriately utilised.
The Court’s position is that they prioritise the most urgent cases, in particular those involving children. A Ministry of Justice spokesperson confirmed that they are ‘investing £324 million over the next three years to speed up justice across family and civil Courts.’. The spokesperson also confirmed that there are plans to invest ‘£9 million in mediation vouchers to help more families resolve their disputes without the stress and trauma of lengthy courtroom battles’.
When addressing the issue of the current court backlogs to the House of Commons justice select committee, the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon stated “Contrary to what many people think, getting lawyers involved at an early stage and giving their clients clear advice about what is likely to happen is very likely to see cases sort themselves our rather than fight”.
At Sinclair Law we only make a court application if absolutely necessary and we make use of a number of alternative ways to resolve disputes which are usually quicker and cost effective. Seeking advice at the outset in our view usually assists both parties in managing their expectations and resolving matters in a better way.Amelia Fernley – Trainee Solicitor
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Lucy Hart at Sinclair Law Solicitors….absolute professional. Getting marriage information declared and Lucy helped us throughout….Thank you.Tony D
Within 24 hours of popping my details on the website, I had received an initial call. I had a video appointment set up and within a week of my first contact with them, I had the separation agreement over which was exactly what I needed. Really good advice, fair pricing and most importantly great communication.Ell T