Pressure On The Family Courts

Family courts

In her latest Timms blog, Managing Partner Fiona Moffat discusses the current pressure on the Family Courts…

From July 2020 to the end of July 2021, 59,771 private law children applications were issued, with the number of children involved at nearly 90,000. If the number of children involved in public law applications are included, including those involved with social care then the number increases to 118,057.

What Do These Case Numbers Mean?

It is important to remember that these are only the cases which are taken to Court, many others of course will settle with the assistance of mediation and through negotiation with solicitors assisting that process. All family lawyers are acutely aware of the problems facing the family Courts and how difficult it is to get Court dates due to the volume of cases and judicial availability.

The government is considering financial penalties for legal advisors when applications are made to Court which are not necessary. This means that Family lawyers experience and expertise will be needed by all who are considering the issue of proceedings to avoid necessary litigation and to try to resolve matters through skilled negotiation.

What Should Be Done Before Applying To The Family Court?

We have a wealth of experience within the team at Timms which means that we can confidently advise and negotiate with a view to resolving disputes more rapidly without going to Court. Whilst “it takes two to tango” and negotiations can only work with the other parent being willing to do so, this is to be actively encouraged as a first step, before proceedings are considered. Private family law children cases are taking up to 14 weeks longer to resolve than before and on average take 40 weeks from the issue of the proceeding to the conclusion at a final hearing. With that being said, 40 weeks is a very long time in a child’s life.

What Can Be Done To Help The Situation?

As we all know that delay in proceedings can cause stress not only to the parents involved but also to the children involved.l Most cases have three hearings as a minimum and we need to be supporting the court and our clients to make sure every hearing counts and that they are purposeful, too many cases are adjourned with no progress being made, which causes frustration and costs money.

How Can Timms Help?

The approach we adopt at Timms is a positive one giving our clients all the options with skilled advice at every step of the way and keeping the children at the centre of our thinking. Children do very often feel unheard and often feel they need to say what they believe either parent wants to hear as the conflict rages.

If you have any questions regarding this matter or any family law query, please do not hesitate to contact me at or via phone on  01332 364436. Alternatively, you can visit the Family Law page of our website here.

Fiona Moffat Managing Partner

Fiona Moffat

August 2022

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