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Public law case starts fall but care proceedings disposals slow to longest average time since 2012: MoJ

There was a 7% decrease in public law case starts in January to March 2021 compared to the same quarter in 2020, the Ministry of Justice has reported.

However, the MoJ’s latest Family Court Statistics Quarterly, published today (24 June), also revealed that the average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 43 weeks over the period. This was up eight weeks from the same quarter in 2020 and the longest average time since the end of 2012.

Just 22% of cases were disposed of within the 26-week time limit in the Children and Families Act 2014, down 14% percentage points compared to the same period in 2020.

During the period there were 1,178 adoption applications, up 6% on the equivalent quarter in 2020. Similarly, the number of adoption orders issued increased by 6% to 1,166.

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The quarterly also revealed that there were 1,459 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in January to March 2021, up 81% on the equivalent quarter in 2020. Orders decreased by 4% in the latest quarter compared to the same period last year.

The report’s statistician said: “The recovery from the impact of Covid-19 continues to be seen across family court activity data this quarter, with increases in the number of new cases started across most case types as well as increases in the number of disposed cases across most areas compared to the same time last year, at the start of the pandemic in the UK. The impacts on timeliness measures continue to be felt, particularly for delays to care proceedings, with work continuing to address the impact to the family justice system.”

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