Surge in public law cases, new data shows


The latest Family Court statistics have confirmed a surge in the number of public law applications, increasing 21 per cent to 4,932 in the third quarter of 2016.

The statistics, published today by the Ministry of Justice, show activity in the Family Courts of England and Wales for July to September compared to the same period last year.

Total cases jumped four per cent to 64,109, driven by increases in public law, private law and financial remedy cases, the report says.

Similarly, the number of children involved in public law applications increased by 20 per cent over the same period to 9,082.

It follows the publicity surrounding the Baby P case, where the number of children involved in public law applications made by local authorities jumped from around 20,000 to almost 26,000 in 2009 and subsequently to 29,500 in 2011.

Each region experienced a rise in the number of children involved in public law applications, although the size of the increase varies from 6 per cent in the Midlands to 47 per cent in London.

Equally, the number of private law cases started in July to September 2016 increased by 14 per cent to 12,687.

Meanwhile, the average time for the disposal of public and private law cases dropped by one week, while the average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application has remained static at 26.6 weeks.

A care or supervision case was disposed of within 26 weeks in 63 per cent of proceedings.

The number of applications for domestic violence remedy orders remained stable over the last year at around 4,800 non-molestation and 1,200 occupation applications.

And following their introduction in July 2015, there have been 97 applications and 79 orders made for Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPOs) up to the end of September 2016.

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