• March 2, 2024
 Court delays and the impact on family practitioners

Today’s Family Lawyer Podcast

Court delays and the impact on family practitioners

The Today’s Family Lawyer podcast welcomes Natasha Grande, Head of Family at Wilsons Solicitors LLP, to discuss the impact of court delays on the day-to-day running of a busy family law practice with host David Opie.

Natasha explains that for most clients the two most important questions are how long is my matter going to take and how much is it going to cost? Historically, says Natasha, lawyers could be be quite positive on the timescales but with the latest statistics on private law children cases indicating that the process is taking 47 weeks , managing client expectations is much more difficult.

When it comes to why we still have delays it is difficult to ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which “altered successful timelines in family law cases which had been established in 2016.”

Beyond that Natasha points to the increasing complexity of family law cases; exacerbated by delays, which often means that circumstances have changed and or new information comes to light which impacts the factual matrix. And of course with the latest Legal Aid contracts just released, family law continues to be chronically under-funded which has an impact on both public and private law matters.

It’s not all doom and gloom and with the rise of alternative dispute resolution options, mediation, arbitration, “one couple, one lawyer,” private FDR and more, practitioners are keeping more cases out of the courts. Keeping an open mind and deciding on the best and most appropriate course for clients is part of the family lawyer’s responsibility.

Alongside the challenges of court delays, the role of family lawyers in reducing them where possible , the discussion also explore the impact of external factors like the increase of Litigants in Person; research in 2023 has shown that the percentage of cases which reached a final order where neither party had legal representation has increased from 14% in 2013, to around 40% now.

The Today’s Family Lawyer podcast is available on your preferred podcast provider and at www.todaysfamilylawyer.co.uk.

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