Court cutbacks in London – massive delays ahead

If you live in London and you’re likely to need to use the family courts in the next few years, I hope you’re very patient. Firstly, there will inevitably be a massive increase in litigants in person that will be created by the effective removal of legal aid from divorce – anyone with experience of the court system knows that the litigant in person will almost inevitably take significantly more of the courts time. In short, they litigate more, negotiate less, require more hearings and take far more court time actual hearings.

Given this, HM Courts and Tribunal Service clearly have no sense of timing. We appreciate that government cuts are starting to bite – but unbelievably, they’ve chosen now to cut the number of family courts in London from 32 to 25 and to reduce the number of district judges at the Principal Registry from 20 to 12.

The old adage “you can’t get a quart into a pint pot” holds true today [though to keep in line with metrication it should technically read “you can’t get a 1.136 litres into a 568.2 millilitre pot”. More cases taking longer into fewer courts with fewer judges – it simply doesn’t work. We are going to end up with a massive court backlog

And this trend is being repeated in various courts up and down the country. Our advice – if you are going through any divorce or family law problem, try to avoid going through the courts in future – and make sure you talk to your family solicitor about the availability of family mediation and collaborative law , which will undoubtedly provide a highly effective way of avoiding court logjams for many people.