Family court

Family law is the area of law that deals with:

  • Public law - local authority intervention to protect children;
  • Private law - parental disputes concerning the upbringing of children;
  • Matrimonial cases - divorces, annulments and separations;
  • Financial remedy (formerly known as 'ancillary relief') - financial provisions after divorce or relationship breakdown;
  • Domestic violence remedy orders;
  • Forced marriage protection orders;
  • Female genital mutilation protection orders;
  • Adoption;
  • The Mental Capacity Act; and
  • Probate

See family court statistics at MOJ for further information.

These measures show the annual total number of cases starting in family courts in England and Wales.


Family court - total cases started

Total cases started at family court.

Show as: chart | table

Period Family court - total cases started
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 263,210
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 265,498
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 265,215
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 241,148
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 244,758
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 255,756
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 255,048
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 262,525
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 266,129
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 265,379
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 265,308

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 265,308

Data source Family court statistics


Children Act - public law

Public law - local authority intervention to protect children (annual total number of cases starting).

Show as: chart | table

Period Children Act - public law
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 14,762
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 15,210
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 15,026
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 14,886
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 15,986
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 18,924
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 19,117
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 19,008
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 18,365
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 18,025
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 16,394

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 16,394

Data source Family court statistics


Children Act - private law

Private law - parental disputes concerning the upbringing of children (annual total number of cases starting).

Show as: chart | table

Period Children Act - private law
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 49,025
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 52,008
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 54,587
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 42,077
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 43,298
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 48,218
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 50,628
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 51,650
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 54,909
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 55,643
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 54,638

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 54,638

Data source Family court statistics


Matrimonial matters

Matrimonial cases - divorces, annulments and separations (annual total number of cases starting).

Show as: chart | table

Period Matrimonial matters
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 147,773
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 136,703
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 129,335
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 132,554
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 133,888
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 129,838
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 125,075
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 118,280
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 113,285
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 115,212
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 114,740
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 109,940
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 119,072
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 117,291
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 113,457
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 108,299

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 108,299

Data source Family court statistics


Financial remedies

Financial remedy (formerly known as 'ancillary relief') - financial provisions after divorce or relationship breakdown (annual total number of cases starting).

Show as: chart | table

Period Financial remedies
Jan 2006 to Dec 2006 60,626
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 57,191
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 50,911
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 45,441
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 45,744
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 41,341
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 42,634
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 42,666
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 37,420
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 37,738
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 41,356
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 42,150
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 39,999
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 39,380
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 38,093
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 46,723

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 46,723

Data source Family court statistics


Domestic violence remedy orders

Domestic violence remedy orders (annual total number of cases starting).

Show as: chart | table

Period Domestic violence remedy orders
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 17,035
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 17,295
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 19,710
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 20,259
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 19,476
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 20,030
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 21,182
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 21,324
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 25,344
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 30,646
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 30,241

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 30,241

Data source Family court statistics


Forced marriage protection

Forced marriage protection orders (annual total number of cases starting).

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Period Forced marriage protection
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 94
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 111
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 118
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 109
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 144
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 137
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 189
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 231
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 202
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 283
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 340
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 235
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 200

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 200

Data source Family court statistics


Female genital mutilation protection

Female genital mutilation protection orders (annual total number of cases starting).

Show as: chart | table

Period Female genital mutilation protection
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 35
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 68
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 85
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 88
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 102
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 49
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 35

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 35

Data source Family court statistics


All Adoption Act

All Adoption Act (annual total number of cases starting), as defined under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, including placement, adoption, along with other non-adoption orders including revocation of placement, change of surname and removal from the UK.

Show as: chart | table

Period All Adoption Act
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 11,091
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 13,167
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 14,802
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 13,084
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 12,824
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 12,189
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 11,744
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 11,101
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 10,398
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 9,231
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 8,778

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 8,778

Data source Family court statistics


Applications made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Applications made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (annual total number of cases starting).

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Period Applications made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 22,583
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 19,093
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 20,459
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 23,538
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 24,877
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 24,923
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 26,272
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 26,722
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 29,711
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 31,332
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 32,029
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 34,445
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 30,635
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 35,379

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 35,379

Data source Family court statistics


Probate service - applications for grants of representation

Number of applications made for grants of representation in non-contentious probate proceedings.

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Period Probate service - applications for grants of representation
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 254,599
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 272,111
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 254,602
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 285,135
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 261,251
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 286,371
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 269,074
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 269,343
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 273,446
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 283,352

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 283,352

Data source Family court statistics


Office of the Public Guardian - total power of attorney applications registered

Total registered applications for powers of attorney in England and Wales.

Show as: chart | table

Period Office of the Public Guardian - total power of attorney applications registered
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 57,997
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 96,803
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 147,605
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 193,423
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 241,769
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 273,447
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 366,762
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 458,160
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 611,487
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 695,905
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 737,501
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 842,783
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 677,786
Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 715,620

Jan 2021 to Dec 2021 715,620

Data source Family court statistics