The family law market grew by 4.5% last year despite differences in the performance of various market segments, according to the latest UK Family Law Market Report 2023.
The report, published in June 2023, is the 9th edition of an annual research report from IRN Legal Reports.
According to the report, divorce numbers increased noticeably in 2022 boosted by the arrival of no-fault divorces plus demand for advice relating to domestic abuse cases also grew. Family law advice for high net worth individuals, complex cases, and international cases increased.
While the sector remains populated by many smaller law firms, typically high street firms where family law is one of many services offered, there are some signs that more leading specialist brands are starting to take a greater share of the market. Leading this charge is Stowe Family Law which now has over 60 offices across England and Wales but others are following and some are profiled in the report.
What’s more, online divorce sites have been in the sector for many years but most of these offer basic divorce documents and templates. However, newer online services led by amicable and Divorce Surgery offer a more interactive model and are taking advantage of no-fault divorce. These services are at the forefront of the one-lawyer one-couple services that are appearing.
In 2021, divorce petitions filed decreased for the third year running but there was a bounce back in 2022. The launch of the no-fault divorce regime in April 2022 has driven most of this growth and it may be a one-off stimulus to the market. Some potential divorcees are also likely to have held back moving forward in 2021 until the new option arrived in 2022.
Also, more mediation is on the horizon as the government proposes mandatory mediation for some low-level cases and the number of professional mediators has been increasing in recent years.
IRN Legal Reports is forecasting similar annual growth in the next few years as in 2021 and 2022. Between 2022 and 2026, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is forecast at 4.6%.