Leading Judge says keep cases out of court

The number of divorce cases ending up in court is on the rise as many divorcing couples are using the family law court as a battleground to argue over issues that could potentially be settled out of court. 

The family law courts are at present inundated, especially with what Sir Andrew McFarlane (Head of family courts in England and Wales) recently called “relationship problems” as opposed to actual “legal issues”.

The rising court cases are causing a backlog and delay, which causes problems for people who really need court time. This includes cases such as domestic abuse, children’s issues and complex financial matters. According to Sir McFarlane around, “20%” of cases concerning children should not be in court.

The genuine role of the family court is perhaps unclear to many divorcing couples, who as Sir McFarlane puts it, “need to know more about what we do.”

Clients seeking to issue court proceedings should therefore be encouraged by family practitioners to engage with out-of-court methods, such as mediation or arbitration.

Negotiations through Solicitors can often assist, even in cases where one party is adamant about settling issues through the court. This could help keep the family court system more efficient and manageable. 

Marya Bibi, Solicitor

If you would like to discuss any family matters, please contact our specialist Family Law Department.

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