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Courts backlog

The courts have been struggling to keep up during the Covid pandemic and in the family courts there is still a significant backlog and delays. Figures published by the Government for April-June 2021 show it takes on average 41 weeks for private law cases to reach a final conclusion and in divorce proceedings this rises to 50 weeks from petition to decree absolute.

One answer to help reduce this backlog is for fewer family cases to go to court and for the parties involved to use mediation to help reach an agreement which the courts can then ‘rubber stamp’.

Other things that people should try and avoid that can affect the length of the process includes making spelling mistakes on the divorce petition, failing to inform their former spouse of their intention to file for divorce, inability to contact former spouse or out of date contact address and a failure to respond quickly to the court when asked.

Sunita Chauhan Senior Associate comments: “With more paperwork being completed online, technology has certainly helped to keep the courts running, but now we need more centres and more staffing to help process and deal with the backlog. With the potential changes to the divorce system from April 2022, couples will be expecting the divorce process to run faster and more smoothly and the system needs to be able to cope with the changes.”


For more information contact Sunita Chauhan at