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 263,618
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 265,912
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 265,553
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 241,469
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 245,057
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 256,020
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 255,293
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 262,751
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 266,482
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 266,339

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 266,339

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 14,788
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 15,238
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 15,050
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 14,909
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 15,998
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 18,953
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 19,152
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 19,035
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 18,392
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 18,050

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 18,050

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 49,060
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 52,056
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 54,620
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 42,105
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 43,342
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 48,243
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 50,649
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 51,671
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 54,934
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 55,673

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 55,673

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 119,069
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 117,492
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 114,677

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 114,677

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 65,395
Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 58,496
Jan 2008 to Dec 2008 51,767
Jan 2009 to Dec 2009 46,081
Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 46,173
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 41,666
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 42,949
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 42,919
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 37,654
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 37,949
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 41,540
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 42,307
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 40,146
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 39,451
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 37,737

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 37,737

Data source Family court statistics


Domestic violence remedy orders

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

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Period Domestic violence remedy orders
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011 17,057
Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 17,318
Jan 2013 to Dec 2013 19,738
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 20,295
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 19,508
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 20,056
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 21,214
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 21,358
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 25,373
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 30,687

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 30,687

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 2020 to Dec 2020 235

Data source Family court statistics


Female genital mutilation protection

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

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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 2020 to Dec 2020 49

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 2020 to Dec 2020 9,231

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 2020 to Dec 2020 30,635

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 273,460

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 273,460

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.

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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 273,448
Jan 2014 to Dec 2014 366,763
Jan 2015 to Dec 2015 458,164
Jan 2016 to Dec 2016 611,487
Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 695,906
Jan 2018 to Dec 2018 737,501
Jan 2019 to Dec 2019 842,784
Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 677,803

Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 677,803

Data source Family court statistics