Family Court statistics reveal that delays continue

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The Ministry of Justice [MOJ] has published the latest quarterly family court statistics for the period October to December 2021.

Figures show the average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 47 weeks in October to December 2021. This is an increase of 5 weeks compared to the same quarter in 2020. 23% of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, a decrease of 4% compared to the same period in 2020.

The average time for divorce proceedings had however decreased with the average time from petition to decree nisi 25 weeks, and decree absolute at 53 weeks, which are down 5 weeks and 2 weeks respectively compared to the same quarter in 2020. The median time to decree nisi and decree absolute was 11 and 28 weeks respectively. Keith Bull, Head of the Family Law Department considers that the decrease in time could be due to the compulsory use of the on-line divorce portal to issue divorces.

There were 22,683 divorce petitions filed in October to December 2021, a decrease of 26% on the equivalent period in 2020.  We believe that the decrease in divorce petitions during the final quarter of 2021 was due to the pending introduction of No-Fault Divorce introduced on 6 April 2022.

There were 25,820 decree absolutes granted in October to December an increase of 2% from the same period last year.  Annually, there were 107,724 divorce petitions filed and 113,920 decree absolutes throughout 2021, down 5% and 10% respectively compared to 2020. 

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications decreased by 4% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020, while the number of orders decreased by 12% in the same period.

Keith Bull is an Accredited Family Law Specialist as he is an Advanced Member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel and accredited on the Resolution Family Law Panel.  He can be contacted on 0161 330 6821 or by email at