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‘Drastic’ court diversion tactics needed for family law – Raab
Dominic Raab

01 Dec 2021 / family law Print

‘Drastic’ court diversion tactics for family law: Raab

The British justice secretary Dominic Raab wants to use “drastic measures” to stop up to half of family-law cases from reaching court.

Cases involving safeguarding and domestic abuse, which comprise 50% to 60% of the total, should continue to be heard by a judge, Raab told the justice committee of the British House of Commons.

He said that talks had begun with the judiciary about how to divert other family-law cases towards an out-of-court remedy, with incentives to couples to settle dispute through alternative means, the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales has reported.

“The vast majority of [non-safeguarding and non-domestic abuse cases] shouldn’t really go to court,” said Raab. 

As many as half of cases should be settled through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or mediation, he added.

“It should not be so easy just to say, ‘we will go to court’.

Sad

“These are sad and sometimes tragic family break-up matters, and often involve children, but we want to make better use of ADR and mediation, and we need to reconcile the incentives for both going to ADR and going to court,’ Raab said. 

“I would be in the market for something really quite drastic and bold in that area.’

From April to June 2021, a total of 66,357 new cases started in the England and Wales family courts, up 14% on the same quarter in 2020, with increases in most case types, including: financial remedy (76%), private law (11%), adoption (11%), and matrimonial cases (7%). 

There was a 4% decrease in cases involving domestic violence.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland