The Ministry of Justice has published its latest set of quarterly statistics on the work of the Family Court, for October to December 2019. Overall, it shows that the family court system is still crying out for reform. Amongst the headlines are that divorce proceedings are taking longer which is symptomatic of the challenges family law faces at the moment. Interestingly, there is a decrease in the number of cases starting in the family courts generally. That may well be as a result of couples using alternative methods to resolve their issues such as mediation or arbitration. We note that the number of divorce petitions have decreased. This may be due to the fact that people divorcing are waiting for the no fault divorce to become law.
One remains hopeful that the current situation forces the courts to address some of these issues in the near future; we have already seen a positive development in the courts in their reaction to the pandemic with their rapid implementation of electronic bundles and remote hearings so that urgent work can continue. It will be very interesting to see if the current situation leads to expediated reform in other areas, which also require improvement.