Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, has acknowledged how Family Courts are struggling to keep up with the current influx of cases, describing this as having to 'run up a down escalator.'
The number of Public Law applications has risen by over 25% since early 2016, and the number of private law cases is also at the highest number, being 53,164 applications in 2018.
Sir Andrew McFarlane has highlighted that consideration needs to be given to cases that can be settled by mediation or dispute resolution, and parents discouraged from coming to court.
Mr. Justice Cobb also commented on how the cuts to legal aid have resulted in the increased number of litigants in person, meaning cases take longer to resolve, with the court sometimes having to defuse emotive and highly charged parents.
There is currently a review being undertaken of the family court system, with the consultation running until 30th September 2019, so time will tell what new proposals and suggestions are made, but it would seem changes do need to be made.
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Cuts to legal aid had also resulted in an influx of “litigants in person”, exposing district judges and magistrates to the fury of unrepresented and “emotionally charged” claimants who had sometimes posed a security risk, Mr Justice Cobb, who is in charge of private family law, acknowledged.