HMCTS told to recruit additional staff and consider creating more Nightingale courts to cope with family backlog
COVID-19 delays may mean in may be another three years before the private family law backlog returns to pre-pandemic levels.
The Law Gazette reports that HM Courts & Tribunals Service estimates that private law family cases may not return to pre-Covid levels for another three years. This report is based on documents published by the judiciary on private and public family law cases.
The public and private family law documents reveal that backlogs in private law have increased by 18% since before the start of the the first Spring lockdown. For those cases heard, the average time to conclude a case is now 29 weeks.
Meanwhile, the average case time for public law cases is 10 weeks above the 26-week statutory time limit.
The guidance has also stated that a significant proportion of cases are coming to family courts as ‘urgent’ when they do not meet the required threshold. Family cases can be rushed or inadequately prepared, neither of which is in a child’s best interests.