According to figures released by the Ministry of Justice, there was a 10% increase in the number of cases started in family courts in the second quarter of 2016. This has led to predictions that it could have an impact on the time it takes for disposal of cases.
According to the figures 66,328 cases were started in family courts marking a year on year increase of 10%. The increase in the number of public law cases however was even greater at 24% in the same period with the number of children involved rising by 21%.
Currently the average time for disposal of care or supervision applications is 27 weeks which is slightly above the 26-week time limit was introduced in the Children and Families Act 2014. 60% of cases now take 26 weeks according to the latest statistics.
A top family judge warned this month that the increase in care cases could plunge courts into crisis. Recommendations have been put forward to try to speed up processes while maintaining high standards.
While possible ways to deal with the rise in cases could be introduced it is also understood that care cases were of unique gravity and importance due to the fact they will have a major impact on the future of those concerned.